Royal Ascot 2018: Prince of Wales Stakes Odds and Betting Preview
It is now a matter of hours rather than days until the 2018 Royal Ascot meeting kicks off from Tuesday afternoon until its conclusion on Saturday. All of the glitz and glamour provided by the female racegoers will be matched by the men wearing top hats and tails. Throw in the obligatory Royal presence – horse drawn carriage et al – and you have a quintessential five-day English race meeting that is utterly unique.
Our coverage of the meeting begins on Wednesday with the one mile and two furlongs Prince of Wales Stakes – race due off at 16:20 GMT – with a small but select field of nine runners at the five-day-declarations stage.
This race was first contested back in 1862 and was named after the Prince of Wales at that time, due to be future King Edward VII. Following the Second World War, the race was discontinued until 1968, a year before the current Prince of Wales, Charles, was initiated into the role.
From 1971, when the current race grading system was introduced, the Prince of Wales Stakes was at Group 2 level, until 2001, when the race was upgraded to Group 1 status and to be only contested by horses aged four years and upwards as it is to the present day.
Some of the great horses of years gone by have won this race including Brigadier Gerard (1972), Dubai Millenium (2000), Ouija Board (2006), while Highland Reel took the honours last year for the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien stable.
For anyone who wishes to place their bets well in advance of the race, please be aware that very few bookmakers are currently offering the Non-Runner-No Bet concession. At the time of writing, just Betfred and Totesport are going NRNB, therefore, if you decide to back any horse outside of the aforementioned duo and your horse does not line-up on Wednesday afternoon, you will lose your wager, so be careful before placing any bets.
In this article, we will look in more detail at some of the leading contenders for this key Group 1 race, to try and point our readers in the right direction for a winning bet.
Cracksman looks solid option
John Gosden has a multitude of top-class thoroughbreds, and his four-year-old star colt, Cracksman is right at the top of the list. Unbeaten in his last five starts, Cracksman is likely to go off a very short-priced favourite to claim the Prince of Wales Stakes.
Frankie Dettori will take the ride on Cracksman, who is a best price of 4/6 with Boylesports and 888Sport to claim further Group 1 honours at Royal Ascot. Cracksman warmed up for the Royal meeting by claiming the Coronation Cup at Epsom’s Derby fixture over twelve furlongs. The drop back to ten furlongs will not inconvenience the Gosden hotpot, and providing all is well with Cracksman, he looks to be one of the bankers of the five-day Ascot meeting.
Plenty to find
Poet’s Word, trained by Sir Michael Stoute is the current second favourite in the ante-post market for the Prince of Wales Stakes at 9/2 with Ladbrokes and Boylesports, but the five-year-old has plenty to find from previous form lines if he is to trouble the market leader.
Cracksman gave Poet’s Word a seven-length beating over course and distance in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October. Poet’s Word has a four-pound weight pull this time around, but it is unlikely to be enough to claw back such a definitive margin. James Doyle will take the ride on Poet’s Word, who took the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown last time out but will have to show lots of improvement to claim victory this time around.
Quartet of options
At the time of writing, there are four other horses in the ante-post betting – all at 12/1 shots with various bookmakers, who could offer value in each-way calculations.
Eminent, a 12/1 poke with William Hill will be aiming to put a disappointing effort at Chester last month behind as Martyn Meade’s stable star steps back into Group 1 company. Eminent finished less than a length behind Cracksman in last year’s Epsom Derby, but the two horses have shown completely different levels of form since.
Cliffs Of Moher at 12/1 with SportingBet and Boylesports is one of two potential Aidan O’Brien runners at the five-day declaration stage. After three runs already this season, fitness will be guaranteed for the Sue Magnier owned four-year-old. Cliffs Of Moher has patchy form throughout his career, but if the son of Galileo decides to put his best foot forward on Wednesday, he could run into the places.
Hydrangea is the other O’Brien inmate, who can be had at 12/1 with Black Type. Hydrangea had a pipe-opener in a Group 2 at the Curragh over one mile at the back-end of May but had to settle for second place. This horse is very difficult to fathom as it has been tried over various distances and going with indifferent results, so market confidence could play a part in his performance on Wednesday, if he runs at all.
Hawkbill is a generally available 12/1 chance and is Godolphin’s main hope of success for trainer Charlie Appleby. After two turf wins at Meydan over the winter period – including a three-length defeat of Poet’s Word in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, Hawkbill put in a dreadful performance last time at Epsom behind Cracksman. On official ratings, Hawkbill is clear second best in this field behind the favourite and could be worth chancing at the odds for place money.
Cracksman barring accidents should win the Prince of Wales Stakes – and with something to spare in all probability and rates as a strong bet.
Poet’s Word is an obvious place candidate, but the current odds offer little value as an each-way bet. A chance is taken on Hawkbill to return to some better form following a performance at Epsom that was too bad to be true. 12/1 is generous if Charlie Appleby has his charge in top form again.
- Cracksman to win the Prince of Wales Stakes at 4/6 with Boylesports
- Hawkbill Each-way at 12/1 with Ladbrokes