King Edward Stakes – Adelaide To Rule At Ascot

Friday’s Group 2 King Edward Stakes over 1m4f (3.45) is always one of the most awaited races of Royal Ascot, as it regularly attracts a bunch of unexposed middle-distance 3yo’s open to stacks of improvement.

This season’s renewal looks up to scratch too, with the likes of Aidan O’Brien’s, Adelaide, who was just touched off in a French Group 2 (1m3f, good to soft), before landing a Group 3 at the Curragh last month (1m2f, soft). He will need to raise his game once more, but this son of Galileo looks the type to keep progressing throughout the season.

There is an Italian challenge via Stefano Botti’s, Dylan Mouth, who is unbeaten in five starts – the last of which was a Group 2 win at Capanelle (1m3f, good). Conditions at Ascot will hold no fears, but he will meet more talented runners here than in his native Italy.

John Gosden knows what it takes to win this race having triumphed twice, and sends Western Hymn, who was a creditable sixth in the Epsom Derby (1m4f, good). A winner of a Group 3 at Sandown prior to Epsom, he may have finished closer at Epsom than the 10l he was beaten, had he not been short of room early in the home straight. Richard Hughes is a positive booking.

The trends, however, suggest avoiding those with proven Group winning form, as 17 of the last 18 King Edward winners had yet to win in such company. One who fits that profile is Sir Michael Stoute’s, Snow Sky, who beat Hartnell 2l in the Listed Derby Trial at Lingfield last month (1m3f, good). An easy winner that day, Snow Sky bypassed Epsom for this and may give his trainer a fourth victory in the race.

Similar comments apply to Charlie Appleby’s, Miner’s Lamp, who won three of his last four races, including a Newmarket handicap last month (1m4f, good to firm), and is definitely on the upgrade.

James Given’s, Odeon, won his maiden at Redcar (1m1f, good to firm), before a 3l fourth in a Group 2 at York behind The Great Gatsby, who went on to win the French Derby. A repeat of that effort should see Odeon in the mix, at what could value odds from one of the lesser fashionable stables.

At the other end of the scale is Richard Hannon’s, Bunker, who was beaten into fifth in the aforementioned York race, and has a bit to prove in terms of trip and form. He has ability, having won a 7f Listed race last season, and the booking of Frankie Dettori will see him supported.

But, when it comes to pulling to trigger, then the vote goes to Aidan O’Brien’s, Adelaide, to stamp his authority on these shores, prior to bigger things this summer.

Here are the full trends covering the last 18 years…

All 18 winners ran during the last two months.
All 18 ran over 1m2f-1m4f last time.
17 had yet to win a Group event.
16 had yet to win over this 1m4f trip – those that ran in the Derby or a Derby Trial did well here.
15 ran at a Grade 1 track last time.
14 won over 1m1f-1m3f earlier that season.
14 made the top four last time; three of the exceptions ran in a Derby.
13 were ridden from the front or prominently.
Sir Michael Stoute had three winners, while John Gosden, Mark Johnston & Saeed Bin Suroor sent out two apiece.