Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – Magical Ending For The O’Briens
Prince Of Wales's Stakes
Wednesday’s racegoers at Royal Ascot will not only be treated to an absolute mouth-watering card, but also the appearance of Europe’s best horse – none other that the 2013 Arc de Triomphe winner, Treve.
Criquette Head’s superstar filly made it five races unbeaten when landing the Arc last October, in the process recording three Group 1 victories in a row. The manner in which she tore her rivals apart to win by 5l was impressive, and the fact she left Japanese champion – and 2/1 favourite on the day – Orferve, in her wake was a testament to it being a strong renewal of the Arc.
Treve was to taste defeat for the first time, however, when making her reappearance at Longchamp this term for a fascinating clash with the battle-hardened, Cirrus Des Aigles. Treve went off the red-hot 3/10 favourite to beat the 8yo, and despite hitting the front in the final furlong, she was just pipped in a photo.
There was certainly no disgrace in defeat , going down by the narrowest of margins to a horse that had already enjoyed two races beforehand and boasted race fitness. The fact Cirrus Des Aigles also went on to win the Group 1 Coronation Cup with ease adds further merit to Treve’s sole defeat.
The question for punters is whether to take odds of 4/6 about a filly who has seen her bubble burst back here at Ascot back over 1m2f on ground that may be quicker than ideal? (despite winning the French Oaks on good ground). If not, then Aidan O’Brien’s, Magician, looks the each-way alternative at 4/1.
Last season’s Irish 2,000 Guineas winner (1m, good to firm) showed an abundance of talent and versatility in 2013,
winning over trips of 1m, 1m2f and 1m4f on all types of ground – the last of which was a famous Breeders’ Cup victory stateside (1m4f, firm).
The ground was rattling firm in California on that occasion, and Magician was back on the scoresheet last month when winning a Group 3 on good to firm, before a 1l defeat in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup three weeks ago where the soft ground wasn’t ideal. The fact Joseph O’Brien didn’t go hard on the colt suggested he may not have been enjoying the mud, but Wednesday could be a different story.
Willie Haggas’ Mukhadram (7/1) also enters calculations having just been touched off by Al Zazeem in this race 12 months ago. A 3l third followed in the Group 1 Eclipse, before what was almost a career-defining victory when beaten over 2l in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (1m2f, Tapeta).
Mukhadram is without doubt a talented colt, but has yet to break his Group 1 duck (0-4) and may just lack that final burst in the last 100 yards that is so often required in the biggest races.
John Gosden’s The Fugue (10/1), on the other hand, has won several Group 1’s, and now boasts form figures of 431233011220 in such company. This mare disappointed when last seen in Dubai in March, but should enjoy these conditions, as was the case when 3l behind Mukhadram here 12 months ago.
You can never ignore the Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore partnership in these events, especially when it involves Dank, who won a Breeders’ Cup seven months ago (1m2f, firm). This mare showed her wellbeing when third in a Dubai Group 1 in March and could go well at juicy odds of 14/1.
Without doubt a red-hot renewal of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and one that can go the way of Aidan O’Brien’s Magician, who will like these conditions and may just catch Treve napping over 1m2f.
Here are the full trends covering the last 18 years…
17 of the 18 winners were 4-5yo’s, despite representing most of the field each year – three-year-olds and six-year-olds and older were 1-24. Five of the six winning five-year-olds ran in this race previously.
17 made the top three last time.
15 were drawn away from the outside two stalls (high).
15 won over 1m2f.
14 ran over 1m1f-1m3f last time.
14 won a Group 1, but more importantly, 12 of the 13 did so since this race was upgraded in 2000.
13 of the last 15 arrived via Ireland or abroad – the two exceptions came from Epsom.
Godolphin sent out five winners.