Ectot the value bet in Prince Of Wales’s Stakes
The Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot at 4.20 on Wednesday is a ten furlong race with over £500,000 of prize money on offer.
The star attraction is America’s California Chrome, the winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. His Triple Crown hopes were dashed in the Belmont when finishing fourth to Tonalist.
Art Sherman’s colt was a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November before winning the Hollywood Derby. He has finished runner-up in his last two starts, chasing home Shared Belief in the Invitational Stakes and Prince Bishop in the Dubai World Cup.
His extrovert trainer is looking forward to the challenge, although he freely admits that Royal Ascot poses a completely different challenge for his globetrotting star. William Buick has been booked for the ride but there is little confidence behind California Chrome who has drifted to as high as 13.0 in the betting market.
The betting does have a very strange appearance with Free Eagle, as yet unproven at this level, the early favourite. He will be having only his fifth start for Dermot Weld and his first since finishing third to Noble Mission in last season’s Champion Stakes in heavy ground. The son of High Chaparral has a lofty reputation but still needs to do it on the track.
The Grey Gatsby
Kevin Ryan feels that The Grey Gatsby did not receive the recognition that he deserved last season. He won the French Derby and defeated Derby winner Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes. He was soundly beaten by Solow in Dubai and was slightly disappointing when only fourth to Al Kazeem at the Curragh last month.
Australian hopes rest with Criterion, trained by David Hayes. He has won six of his 27 races including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April. Red Cadeaux chased him home that day and he will have to find a few pounds improvement to win this.
The International flavour of the race is further enhanced by Spielberg, trained in Japan by Kazuo Fujisawa. He is one of a team of four from that country, the first Japanese runners at the meeting since 2011. Ectot represents France as he bids to rebuild his reputation after a poor run in last season’s Arc de Triomphe. He had looked very progressive in the build-up to the race for Al Shaqab Racing, particularly when winning the Prix Niel in September.
John Gosden may saddle Western Hymn and Eagle Top, first and fourth in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown. This looks a much tougher contest with preference just going to Ectot.
Ectot – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Royal Ascot 4.20 Wednesday) @8.0 Sportingbet