Little Bridge - King's Stand Stakes - Royal AscotThe King’s Stand Stakes is one of my favourite races at the Royal Ascot festival. Always a big field and always an eventful race, the King’s Stand is a good old fashioned five furlong cavalry charge. We picked the winner of this race in 2012, when Little Bridge (pictured) obliged at an SP of 12/1, and we’ve picked out a gelding with a big chance at a big price ahead of the 2014 renewal. Read on to discover more…

We’ve taken a look at the last 15 winners of the King’s Stand Stakes to build up a profile of what is required to win the prestigious Royal Ascot sprint. Here are the key King’s Stand trends:

Key King’s Stand Trends

Past Form

  • 13 of the last 15 King’s Stand winners had won at 6f
  • 12 of the last 15 winners had already won a Group race

We can glean from these trends that our King’s Stand Stakes bet should have already proven themselves at a high level, while form over 6f is just as important as form over 5f due to the stiff test provided by Ascot.

Past Form

  • 13 of the last 15 King’s Stand winners had won at least once that year
  • 13 of the last 15 winners had run 2, 3 or 4 times that year
  • 11 of the last 15 winners finished in the front 2 last time out

These King’s Stand trends show that we should be selecting a horse in good form, that hasn’t been campaigned too heavily in the build up to Royal Ascot. Of those 11 winners finishing in the first two, 8 of them actually won their race.

Betting

  • 3 of the last 15 King’s Stand winners were sent off shorter than 7/1
  • 5 of the last 15 winners were returned at double figure odds

It’s not unusual to see a big priced winner in the King’s Stand, so we shouldn’t be put off by any large odds. In fact, it is almost always better to look away from the race favourite.

Summary

After applying the above trends to the 2014 King’s Stand Stakes field, we can thin it to just three: Caledonia Lady, Hot Streak and Maarek.

I don’t fancy the Jo Hughes trained Caledonia Lady at all. Her best price of 100/1 (101.00) is an accurate reflection of her chances in my eyes. Her only achievement of note was a Group 3 success at Sandown (by a nose) back in 2012 and she has struggled ever since. A recent Listed success shows she’s getting back on track, but that also puts her 3lbs higher than her highest ever winning mark for the King’s Stand, and she has shown in the past that she can’t compete off a mark of 105 in much lesser company than this. I’ll be putting a line through her name.

So really it’s between Kevin Ryan’s three year old Hot Streak and the seven year old Maarek. Of the two, I marginally prefer the latter. Hot Streak has achieved plenty in his short career to date, winning a Group 3 event over the King’s Stand course and distance, as well as the Group 2 Temple Stakes last time out. He also finished a half length second in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, proving that he can mix it with the best. I won’t be at all surprised to see him run well but at a current best price of 11/2 (6.5) with Ladbrokes and as short as 4/1 (5.00) in places, the colt is favourite for the race with many firms. The trends suggest avoiding the favourite and with Maarek priced at a much more generous 16/1 (17.00) with Coral, I will be siding with him.

Trained by the up-and-coming Evanna McCutcheon out in Tipperary, the seven year old won the Group 1 Prix l’Abbaye at Longchamp back in October and I’m quite convinced that he would be half the price if he were trained by a bigger name. He’s in good form, having finished in the front two of his last three races, including a Group 2 triumph at York earlier this month. The only issue with him is that he seems to be quite ground dependent, as he loves it soft. I wouldn’t blame anyone if they sacrificed the big antepost price and left it until nearer race time to see the weather, but I will be having an Each-Way bet on him now.

A quick word about Sole Power, last year’s winner. The only trend he falls down on is the fact that he’s never scored over 6f. This is the only trend he fell down on last year too and he went on to win the race, so I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from having a bet on him this time around. But at a current best price of 7/1 (8.00) with William Hill, I am happier siding with our selection.

Advice

The 2014 King’s Stand Stakes
Tuesday June 17th, 16:00

Maarek (Each-Way) @ 16/1 (17.00) with Coral

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