Royal Ascot 2013 is just three weeks away, so it’s about time we started to take a look at some of the big races. And what better place to start than one of my personal favourites, the cavalry charge that is the King’s Stand Stakes? It’s a race that throws up some big priced winners (including our winning tip last year Little Bridge, pictured, who we put up at 14/1 [15.00]) and we’ve a couple that we quite like for the 2013 renewal, including a 14/1 (15.00) shot with William Hill…
At this early stage, there are still 49 entrants to the 2013 King’s Stand Stakes, so we need to thin the field a little. By analysing past winners of this internationally popular Royal Ascot sprint, we can identify key trends and build a profile of what it takes to win the Group 1 race. Here are the most important trends:
Key King’s Stand Trends
- 13 of the last 14 King’s Stand winners had won over 6f
- 11 of the last 14 winners had already won a Group race
Although the King’s Stand Stakes is run over 5f, Ascot provides these sprinters with a particularly stiff test and as the trends clearly illustrate, form over slightly further is just as important as form over 5f.
Furthermore, these trends suggest that our selection needs to be classy enough to win at Royal Ascot; of the three exceptions to the Group race trend, one had never actually raced at Group level before (and therefore had actually never failed at Group level) and the other two had both placed in Group 2 races.
- 12 of the last 14 King’s Stand winners had run in 2 to 4 races that year
- 12 of the last 14 winners had won at least one race that year, prior to Royal Ascot
- 11 of the last 14 winners of the King’s Stand Stakes were 1st or 2nd last time out
These trends tell us that our 2013 King’s Stand selection should be race fit and in good form ahead of the visit to Royal Ascot. It’s worth noting that 8 of the 11 horses to finish in the front two last time out had actually won their race.
- Just 2 of the last 14 King’s Stand winners were sent off as favourite
The King’s Stand Stakes is not one for favourite backers and has thrown up some big priced winners in recent years, including Equiano, who first won the race in 2008 as a 22/1 (23.00) chance. You don’t have to go much further back in time to find Dominica at 16/1 (17.00) and Choisir at 25/1 (26.00); those wins came in 2002 and 2003. Even last year’s winner Little Bridge was officially returned at 12/1 (13.00).
There are few among the 2013 King’s Stand field that tick the right boxes in terms of trends, but my favourite two are Shamexpress and Swiss Spirit. First though, let’s talk about a few others.
I really love Kingsgate Native to bits and he does fit all of the above trends, but even after his win in the Temple Stakes this weekend, I can’t confidently back the veteran sprinter in this. There hasn’t been an 8 year old winner of the King’s Stand in my lifetime and that puts me off a bit. Not that many 8 year olds line up, so if you were dead set on backing him at the current best price of 14/1 (15.00, William Hill) I wouldn’t work too hard to put you off, but I feel that there are others in the field that offer better value.
Aidan O’Brien’s Irish 2,000 Guineas runner up Gale Force Ten is another that hits the mark in terms of trends, but I would expect him to be campaigned over further based on his last few performances. Not even the 40/1 (41.00) from SkyBet is going to tempt me, as I’m sure he won’t even line up and that could be a waste of a bet under antepost rules.
The hot favourite for the 2013 King’s Stand is Mike De Kock’s Shea Shea. The star sprinter’s last outing at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night was frighteningly good and on form alone, you could make the case that William Hill‘s best price of 11/4 (3.75) is justified, but the six year old bay is yet to race in Europe and that gives me enough of a concern to oppose him at such short odds, regardless of the trends.
In a race that is increasingly falling to overseas stars, I reckon that Danny O’Brien’s Shamexpress could be worth an Each-Way bet at current best odds of 14/1 (15.00) with William Hill. Like Shea Shea, this four year old is yet to tackle a European race track, but there are two difference here.
First of all is simply the price; the 14/1 about Shamexpress is a much healthier price than Shea Shea’s 11/4 when there’s any sort of doubt over a selection. Secondly is the recent record of Australian trainers in the King’s Stand stakes. In the past ten years, Aussie trainers Paul Perry, Joe Janiak, Lee Freedman and Daniel Morton have all trained winners of this race, plus there have been a further 3 placed horses from Australia – all from just 15 runners.
Another Each-Way play for the 2013 King’s Stand Stakes has to be Swiss Spirit, who meets all of the trends and who should really have won the Temple Stakes at the weekend. He was narrowly held by the winner Kingsgate Native after a late charge under William Buick, but the four year old blew his chance at the start. That was an eye catching finish under the circumstances and he’s got a big win in him somewhere. There’s no reason why it can’t be at Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand, at current odds of 12/1 (13.00) with Paddy Power.
The 2013 King’s Stand Stakes
Tuesday June 18th, 15:05
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