Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Royal Ascot - Day 2 Prince of Wales' Stakes

I can think of only 5 names to retain in Wednesday's feature race, the Prince of Wales' Stakes at 10 furlongs; Al Kazeem, Camelot, The Fugue and the 2 French raiders Maxios and Saint Baudolino. I believe the winner should come out of that lot.

Al Kazeem is the favourite of the race and if he has retained the form that saw him beat Camelot last time, I think he will be a big player. He's only been outside of the placings once in 10 outings, and that happened on his racing debut and on soft ground. He will be getting his preferred good ground on Tuesday and the way he mastered Camelot at the Curragh a few weeks ago shows his mettle as a genuine Group 1 runner and one of the best middle-distance horses around.

Camelot disappointed when beaten to Al Kazeem and it remains to be seen if he's still the same horse after his surgery during the winter. I still believe that his best distance is 12 furlongs, being a son of Montjeu. It's hard to see him reverse the form against Roger Charlton's colt.

I rate The Fugue as a top filly but I have doubts of her winning on Wednesday after more than 200 days of layoff. Her stablemate Elusive Kate floundered in the latter parts of the Queen Anne Stakes after a similar lengthy spell on the sidelines, possibly due to a lack of fitness. There isn't much confidence in backing her with the lack of a prep run.

Maxios has been a revelation in France this year having notched 2 wins and a second place out of 3 top races. It seems that trainer Jonathan's Pease has found the solution to the 5-year old half-brother of Bago after a rather start-stop career to date. Maxios needs plenty of rain to be at his most effective but it does not seem that there will be plenty or any of that in the weather forecasts. He's got to be considered if it starts pouring on the day.

Saint Baudolino can never be counted out as the son of Pivotal is blessed with a smart turn of foot that can help him make the difference against this field on his best day. This lightly raced colt is the dark horse of the race as he's very unexposed. It remains to be seen how his transfer from Fabre to Godolphin has panned out because many of similar transfers have ended up in rather catastrophic fashion. It would not be surprising if the mount of Barzalona snatched up a place.

All roads seem to be going back to Al Kazeem in this one. He almost never runs a bad race and if he is true to form, he should be very close at the finish. I cannot see him out of the first 3, and he looks a good value Win selection.

Win: Al Kazeem

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