Sir Michael To Reign Again In The Stakes

Princess Of Wales's Stakes

Outright Betting

The three-day Newmarket July Meeting gets underway on Thursday where the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes (2.40) over 1m4f grabs the headlines, and where Sir Michael Stoute’s Arab Spring (6/4), will look to carry on his progression from handicap company.

Newmarket and Ascot form
Having finished runner-up on his debut last season, this highly progressive 4yo colt has won all four outings this season, including his last two in valuable handicaps. The latest of those was a impressive 2l victory in the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot (1m4f, good to firm) – a performance that has seen him rise almost 30lb since March.

While none of this year’s line-up have won at Newmarket, it’s worth noting that

…eight of the last 18 winners of this race arrived via Royal Ascot, which bodes well for Sir Michael Stoute’s Arab Spring, and his other entry, Hillstar (3/1).

This fellow 4yo colt finished second in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f, good to firm), and while beaten 7l by Telescope that day, Hillstar had his own battle going on in for second when just holding Pether’s Moon (8/1) by a head – the pair not getting the smoothest of runs in the straight. Hillstar gave the impression of being the better horse, leaving the likes of Thursday’s 7/1 shot Dandino way behind in sixth.

Older runners
The unknown quantity of the race is Marco Botti’s 6yo Seismos (16/1), who was a Group 1 winner in Germany last summer (1m4f, good) and certainly has the class to win, but hasn’t really shown much the last twice, including when beaten 6l over 2m at Sandown last time (soft).

Godolphin’s evergreen 8yo, Cavalryman (8/1), heads back for another crack at this race having been beaten over 4l in third 12 months ago, and having won two Group 3’s in 2013, he could be thereabouts if fit following a 103-day absence. Similar comments apply to the yard’s Excellent Result (14/1), who won a Group 2 in Dubai in March, but also has a 103-day break to overcome, which is never easy against race-fit horses in mid-summer – 16 of the last 18 winners ran during the previous two months.

This race has proven one of the most reliable in siding with specific trainers, as both Sir Michael Stoute (6) and Mark Johnston (4) have won the event 10 times between them since 1996, including eight of the last 10 renewals.

As mentioned earlier, Stoute has opted to run both Arab Spring and Hillstar this time around, though it’s worth noting that John Gosden also won this race in 2008, and runs the consistent 6yo, Gatewood (14/1), whose last eight form-figures read 21122232. A back-to-back Listed winner over 1m4f in May, he was beaten just 1/2l at the same level over C&D two weeks ago, butwill need more in this company.

Looking back at the last 18 winners of this race…

All 18 winners arrived via a Grade 1 track.
16 were non-favourites.
16 made the top six last time.
16 ran over 1m2f-1m4f last time.
15 took a Group race.
14 won over this 1m4f trip.
12 of the last 14 were officially rated 108 or higher.
No filly won since Height Of Fashion in 1982.

Recommended Bets
There is no getting away from Sir Michael Stoute’s pair, although none of his past winners of this race came via a handicap, with those beaten in the Hardwicke performing better. With that in mind, the value option has to be Hillstar.