A Look Ahead - The Prince Of Wales's Stakes

A Look Ahead - The Prince Of Wales's Stakes

The Prince Of Wales's Stakes - one of the feature events of the Royal Ascot meeting, is a Group One flat race open to horses aged four or older, over the mile-and-a-quarter distance.

Ten furlongs the trip, the race was established back in 1862 and named after the Prince Of Wales at the time - the future King Edward VII.

Nowadays it is run in honour of Prince Charles - son of Queen Elizabeth II, and was promoted to Group One status in the year 2000.

Held on the second day of the five-day royal meeting, horses that compete in this race appear as regulars in the middle distance division sponsored by Qipco.

The first of the major 1m2f Group Ones of the season, other targets down the season may feature the Coral Eclipse at Sandown, the Juddmonte International at York and the Champion Stakes back at Ascot on Champions Day.

Last season, Poet's Word created history for Sir Michael Stoute with a record-breaking 76th Royal Ascot victory, lowering the colours of the favourite Cracksman in the process.

Ouija Board, Nayef and So You Think have been other memorable winners of this contest since the turn of the century, along with globetrotting Group One winner Highland Reel in 2017.

This year's renewal could have been the starting point for dual Arc winner Enable's five-year-old campaign, but that has been held off until the Eclipse at Sandown next month.

As many as twenty-five horses still hold an entry in this ten furlong feature with two weeks to go at the time of writing, and the bottom one currently heads the ante-post betting.

Sea Of Class for trainer William Haggas finished a flying second to John Gosden's stablestar at Longchamp at October, which brought an end to a sensational three-year-old campaign.

Wins in the Irish Oaks, the Yorkshire Oaks and a Listed race at Newbury saw the daughter of Sea The Stars in with a great chance to repeat her father's accomplishments in France last Autumn, but felt the effects of a troubled passage through.

Traditionally a hold-up horse, she has a big campaign ahead of her on route back to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for a second attempt, and will kick things off as the current favourite in this contest.

Jockey James Doyle - likely to join up with the filly once again, won this race last year on Poet's Word, as well as aboard Al Kazeem for Roger Charlton in 2013.

Her likely challengers involve another top filly from Ireland in the shape of Magical, who has won four of her last five; commencing with a victory here in the Fillies & Mares contest on Champions Day.

An impressive three-from-three this term, her only defeat since the end of October also came at the hands of Enable in the Breeders Cup Turf over at Churchill Downs where she finish just under a length down on the winner, but the pair a good ten lengths ahead of the rest.

Aidan O'Brien trains Magical, and could also send out the outsiders I Can Fly - neck second to Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes , Magic Wand - winner of the Ribblesdale last term, and Hunting Horn who won the Hampton Court Stakes likewise at the royal meeting.

More towards the head of affairs sits Sir Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean - also entered in the Hardwicke Stakes once more.

The five-year-old has come through his traditional early season preparation runs, but will be aware from previous experience that the big challenges lie ahead.

This time last year he went to the Hardwicke a perfect two-out-of-two after victories at Sandown and Newbury, and will arrive at the royal meeting once again victorious in the same two races.

Ryan Moore - contracted to both Aidan O'Brien and Sir Michael Stoute will have a big choice to make as to who he rides.

Last season's Derby winner Masar could make his eagerly-awaited return from injury in this contest, having shined brightest at Epsom twelve months ago.

The four-year-old may be joined by stable companion Ghaiyyath - who having bolted up at Longchamp in the Prix d'Harcourt, where he was heavily eased towards the finish, could not repeat that trick at short odds at the same venue in the Group One Prix Ganay.

He was beaten by Andre Fabre's Waldgeist - who members of Coolmore have a stake involved, and made his return a winning one at the Arc venue at the end of April.

More will be expected of him here, along with impressive French Group One scorer Zabeel Prince - who could show up in the Queen Anne.

Regardless where he goes, Roger Varian will be excited over the six-year-old's chances after owning the rights to one of the leading slices of form this campaign from the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket.

Zabeel Prince - winner of the Prix d'Ispahan recently, led home Forest Ranger, Mustashy and Elarqam on the Rowley Mile - who have all gone onto land a Group Two, Group One and Listed event respectively since.

Godolphin also have Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow and Sheema Classic victor Old Persian - last but two in last week's Coronation Cup, both involved.

John Gosden - without Enable, could have impressive all-weather scorer Wissahickon to ponder; winner of the Winter Derby Stakes at Lingfield in February.

Easily successful in last season's Cambridgeshire Handicap at HQ, he did lose on his final start on the artificial surface on Good Friday all-weather finals day, but is crying out for a return to the grass.

Regal Regality, Salouen and Desert Encounter look the other main protagonists in this field, with Barney Roy, Beat The Bank, Lord Glitters and Elarqam all expected elsewhere.