BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES AND THE QUEEN MARY STAKES
THERE are a few races at this year’s meeting which initially look like a match between the top two in the market. The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (3.45pm) is one such contest, with Al Kazeem and Camelot renewing rivalries after their showdown in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last month.
It was Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem who came out on top that day, and the five-year-old son of Dubawi has looked a hugely improved horse this season.
He won the Gordon Richards Stakes well on his reappearance before notching his first success at the top level in Ireland last time. The Coral Eclipse and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe are targets later in the campaign, and he has already proven that he won’t be disgraced in that company.
The only problem I have with him today is his price. He’s a 2/1 shot with Ladbrokes and although I think he is the most likely winner, I’m just not willing to back him at those odds.
Camelot was viewed by many as the second coming after his Investec Derby success. However, it all went wrong in the Ladbrokes St Leger and things haven’t really improved since then.
Ballydoyle have always held him in the highest regard, but you can’t get away from the fact that last year’s middle distance three-year-olds look to be a pretty average bunch.
I’m sure he will come on for the run behind Al Kazeem, yet I see no reason why he will turn the form around. In fact, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is as I will be opposing him in a match bet with the Charlton runner with Sporting Index.
There has been plenty of money for John Gosden’s The Fugue in the past few days and she has the form to go close in this. That said, she has been something of an unlucky filly and I wouldn’t be surprised if she found more trouble in-running here.
She should have won the Investec Oaks last year, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but she was stopped in her run at a crucial point in both races. This is also her first start of the season and the first time she is taking on the boys, so I’m happy to look elsewhere.
The French have an excellent record at Royal Ascot and in this race particularly. Horses trained across the Channel have won three of the last six renewals and I’m quite sweet on the chances of Jonathan Pease’s MAXIOS, France’s sole representative, shaking up the front two.
This Monsun colt won the Group One Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp last time and although that race was crabbed by many, I was impressed by the way he did it. He has the ideal blend of speed and stamina for a contest like this and he looks easily the best each-way play in the race at 11/2 with Coral.
His penultimate start was a fine effort in finishing second to Pastorius in the Prix Ganay. He was also the only runner to serve it up to the German horse that day.
The rain that is forecast will be to his advantage too, and if there are any chinks in the armoury of the top two in the betting he’s the most likely to exploit them.
MAXIOS e/w 3.45pm Ascot (today)