Saturday is the final day of this year’s Royal Ascot festival and hopefully, you have managed to make some semblance of a profit over the previous four days. As you would expect, bookies love Class 1 races because it forces us to pick a winner from a field stacked with world class horses. The final day of Ascot sees four Class 1 events and I will try to offer some useful trends to help you narrow down what are primarily competitive fields.
This is a quick-fire 7f event and straight off the bat we can see that 14/21 winners also won their previous race. Only two winners since 1997 didn’t finish in the top three in a previous race; one of them was fourth while the other was having a debut run. If we eliminate horses having their first run and those that were fourth or worse from contention, the 11 runners become nine.
Other trends include:
- 15/15 winners had a maximum of two career runs.
- 13/15 winners ran over 6f in their previous race.
- 13/15 winners had exactly one career run.
- The average price of winners in the Chesham Stakes over the last ten years is 9/1.
When you take all of the above into account, there are only six runners with one or two career runs and outsider Duke of Hazzard ran over 5f in his last race.
The trends favour horses with exactly one career run (and win). This leaves us with Natalie’s Joy, Arthur Kitt, and Nate the Great as our three contenders.
Natalie’s Joy is the 7/4 favourite as she is carrying five pounds less than the other two contenders above but there is little form to go on. The favourite had a facile six-length win in a Class 4, Arthur Kitt also won a Class 4 while Nate the Great triumphed in a Class 5. As such, it is a risky business to choose a clear favourite and Arthur Kitt will tempt plenty of people at 9/1.
Crystal Ocean is the clear 4/7 favourite in this five -runner race but only 6/22 favourites have won the Hardwicke. 17/21 winners finished top three in their previous race which would eliminate Idaho and Cliffs of Moher. Perhaps more importantly, 4yos have an exceptional record in this event having won the last ten renewals. When you look through the race, only the favourite and Cliffs of Moher fit the bill and the latter is 9/1 and considered an outsider.
Other trends include:
- 11/12 winners had a minimum of seven Flat runs.
- 12/12 winners were previous winners of at least one Group 2 or Group 3 race.
- 9/12 winners had at least one season win.
If you don’t fancy backing Crystal Ocean at odds on, Cliffs of Moher might be worth a punt with a Group 2 win at Naas in May this season. Whether he runs in the Hardwicke after finishing fourth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes three days before the race is another story. Also, he finished fourth in his previous race.
Few will bet against Crystal Ocean who is ranked a pound higher than any of the last ten winners and is rated four points above his nearest rival Idaho and seven pounds or more above everyone else.
Windsor Castle Stakes
This is arguably one of the toughest races to call during the entire Royal Ascot festival and there are 28 runners at the time of writing. While useful trends are thin on the ground, here are a few we hope prove helpful:
- 15/16 winners had 2 or 3 career runs.
- 13/16 winners had won over the distance (5f) before.
- 11/16 were placed in their last outing.
Otherwise, there is a real lack of trends to help pinpoint a likely winner. To make matters worse, long odds winners are relatively common and the average SP for winners in the last 16 years is 17/1 although this includes a 100/1 winner in 2008. Four of the last six winners have been priced between 14/1 and 20/1 so value hunters would be well served to check out likely contenders in this odds range.
As for the trends above, only three of the 28 runners have NOT had either 2 or 3 career runs while another four did NOT place in their last race. Of the remaining 21 contenders, 16 have won over 5f! Unfortunately, in a field full of mainly unexposed horses, and little in the way of decent trends, picking a winner here is extraordinarily difficult and it is a race that most savvy punters will avoid.
The final Class 1 event of the festival promises to be a sensational affair as Harry Angel looks to build on his superb 2017 form. He is 11/4 favourite in a race where only 4/23 winners have been at the top of the betting market. An interesting trend shows that only one winner in the last decade was a 7yo which is bad news for Australian raider Redkirk Warrior, the third favourite at 9/2.
Recent form isn’t a huge consideration as only 8/21 winners finished in the top three in their previous race. As only 10/21 winners were in the top 3 in the betting market, with 14/1 and 11/1 winners in the last five years, you would be forgiven for seeking a value bet.
Other potentially useful trends include:
- 14/15 winners had previously won over the distance (6f).
- 12/15 winners are former Group race winners.
- 11/15 winners had at least one prior win at Ascot.
Last year’s winner, The Tin Man, is coming off a narrow win at Windsor last time out and may tempt punters at 8/1. He is rated nine OR points behind Harry Angel so it is a tough task, but not an impossible one.
In what is a 6f race, draw is often important as 11/21 winners have come from stalls 3, 4 or 6. If this trend interests you, please note that 11/1 shot Librisa Breeze is in stall 3, 33/1 shot D’bai is in stall 4 while 100/1 rank outsider Intelligence Cross is in stall 6.
Given this information, plus the fact that recent form is not that important along with this race’s propensity to throw up double-digit SP winners, perhaps Librisa Breeze is worth taking a chance on? He finished ninth at Meydan in his previous race but won a 6f Group 1 race at Ascot in October where he defeated Tasleet by 1.25 lengths. Tasleet has also been beaten by Harry Angel and Merchant Navy, albeit by bigger margins, but it shows that Librisa Breeze belongs in this company.