The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over 1m2f is the centre piece for the second day of Royal Ascot. It’s a great contest for older horses. After today wins for Ribchester and Barney Roy the bragging rights are Gololphin’s. Will that continue with their Jack Hobbs taking on Coolmore’s Highland Reel in this?
Jack Hobbs and Highland Reel have already lit up the season and as of yesterday they vied for favouritism at around 11/4. This morning the money has come for Highland Reel and his is best priced at 5/2.
In Dubai in March Jack Hobbs took the scalp of Highland Reel over 1m4f on soft ground at Meydan in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Highland Reel did what he does best, broke from the gate to boss the race. He brought the field to the top of the straight and when Ryan Moore asked him to quicken it became obvious that he was glued to the tacky ground. He was eased down to trail in last.
Jack Hobbs having tracked Highland Reel into the straight was full of running. When William Buick pressed the button he easily picked up loving the surface stretching away to beat Seventh Heaven and Postponed. We haven’t seen him since.
Highland Reel went onto the Coronation Cup at Epsom a couple of weeks ago where order was restored. Breaking fast he was soon in command and unlike in Dubai when he rounded Tattenham Corner he went through the gears. He loves a battle and when Godolphin’s Hawksbill came at him with his head hanging you could nearly see his gritted teeth. Within strides the fight was over Hawsbill capitulating in the end being passed by another Godolphin runner Frontiersman to chase home the O’Brien colt.
Ulysses takes on the front two. He comes here on the back of a win in the Gordon Richards Stakes over this trip where he was a length ahead of Deauville who ran so well yesterday when third in the Queen Anne. He possess the potential to put Sir Michael Stoute back on the top of the tree. He’s a four year old who didn’t match his early promise at three but in the hands of a master with older horses he could yet reach the summit. The Stoute team is also represented by the Fillies and Mares Breeders Cup winner Queens Trust who didn’t shine in the Middleton on her come back run in May trailing in fourth.
Decorated Knight might just be ahead of Ulysses on form through Deauville. He took the Tattersalls Gold Cup, also over this trip, from Somehow with Deauville 4L behind in third. It was his second strike at G 1 level having taken the Jebble Hatta in early March. Like Highland Reel he was also glued to the ground when contesting The Dubai Turf on World Cup night and he will find these conditions much more to his liking.
Aidan O’Brien also sends Johannes Vermeer who ran fourth in the Tattersalls across the water and he is steadily improving after an injury hit season last year.
Jean-Claude Rouget makes the trip from France with his G1 Prix D’Ispahan winner Mekhtaal. He’s stepping up a furlong in trip from the D’Ispahan and is one whose definitely on the improve having chased home Cloth Of Stars at G2 level in his previous run.
Godolphin also run Scottish who last time out was sent to Australia for the Caulfield Cup where he ran a very good second.
The ground will favour Highland Reel whose won three G 1’s on fast ground already. A Breeders Cup Turf, a Secretariat Stakes and a King George here last summer at Ascot. Jack Hobbs should also handle it having won the 2015 Irish Derby on good to firm ground.
It looks like a match. It’s probable both are better at 1m4f than this shorter trip, class will tell.
Let’s hope we get the battle we didn’t get at Meydan. It will be Highland Reel’s toughest test, his biggest fight. it could get ugly in the last furlong, he might just get nutted on the line but then he might just get the last dig in.
In the Jersey Stakes Ger Lyons Glastonbury Song steps down in class from the Irish Guineas and could go well on ground he could relish at a decent price. He’s worth backing with a bookmaker paying 4 places.
Prince Of Wales’s Stakes : Highland Reel 5/2 win
Jersey Stakes : Glastonbury Song 25/1 ew