Royal Ascot is now just around the corner, and in anticipation of one of the highlights of the racing calendar, top tipster Andrew Mount is providing us with his in-depth preview of all of the main Royal Ascot races. Today, Andrew casts his eye over the King’s Stand Stakes, giving his thoughts on the race’s main protagonists and his idea of the most likely winner. Check out his thoughts below, which come alongside an exclusive SBK offer, that provides new customers with a £20 risk-free bet.
King’s Stand Stakes (5f, Tuesday, June 15, 3.40pm)
BATTAASH 5/2 finished second to Blue Point in this race in 2018 and 2019 and went one better last year when perhaps the absence of crowds helped (he has been known to boil over in the preliminaries). His domestic record since his second wind operation reads 1211111 (6-7) but he starts the season as a seven-year-old and his five best RPRs (Racing Post Ratings) came from 2017-2019, suggesting his powers may be on the wane.
GLASS SLIPPERS 4/1 was only fifth in this race last year but she did best of those to stay centre to far side from their disadvantageous low draws. She got closer to Battaash at Goodwood next time and had a fantastic autumn in Group 1 company, landing the Flying Five, going down by a neck from a poor draw in the Prix de l’Abbaye and winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint where she had Extravagant Kid back in fourth. Her record when racing overseas now reads 111121 (5-6), compared to domestic form figures of 36116052452 (2-11). ‘She thrives later in the year and travels well’ according to trainer Kevin Ryan, so perhaps won’t be fully tuned up for this.
OXTED 6/1 took July Cup honours last year but is 0-4 since returning from wind surgery and makes little appeal at the current offer of around 6-1.
WINTER POWER 6/1 impressed in Listed company at York on her return and now has turf form of 14610111 (5-8). She’s reportedly strengthened up since last year and handles any ground.
EQUILATERAL 12/1 did well to finish second to Battaash in this race last year, as he had to work his way across to the favoured nearside rail from a difficult low draw. He was largely disappointing in three subsequent European runs but won twice at Meydan over the winter.
EXTRAVAGANT KID 10/1 has been gelded since landing a Group 1 contest over 6f at Meydan at the end of March. Fast ground suits and he’s also in the Diamond Jubilee.
LIBERTY BEACH 8/1 travelled with her usual exuberance when taking the Temple Stakes on her return to action and rarely runs a bad race. Third to Battaash and Equilateral in this race last year, she’s now had three goes in Group 1 company and tasted defeat very time. Likeable though she is, the feeling remains that she falls just short of this level.
STARMAN 10/1 returned to winning ways in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Stakes over 6f at York on his comeback, after lost his unbeaten record over the same trip here on Champions Day. He’s yet to race at 5f and will surely go for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over the longer trip.
QUE AMORO 10/1 was scratched from the Temple Stakes because of heavy ground and should find conditions more to her liking here. Last year’s Nunthorpe runner-up loves York and there has to be a concern about the suitability of this test, especially if she arrives here without a prep run.
DRAGON SYMBOL 12/1 lost his unbeaten record when going down by a nose to Rohaan in the 6f Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. The ground was reportedly slower than preferred and underfoot conditions may determine whether he runs in the Commonwealth Cup (6f) or this race (5f).
CAME FROM THE DARK 12/1 usually plies his trade in handicaps but this hold-up performer could well prove to be a better horse in a better race, as he needs them to go like the clappers from start to finish. His record at the minimum trip reads 12217312 (3-8), with the sole unplaced effort excusable as he was poorly drawn and probably suffered from breathing difficulties (he underwent wind surgery afterwards). His first foray into Group company saw him finish second by a neck in the Palace House Stakes on his latest start when not getting the clearest of runs.
KEEP BUSY 20/1 ran as though her comeback run were needed when fifth of six behind stablemate Liberty Beach in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock. Her RPR (Racing Post Rating) has improved by nine and 12lb from first start to second in the two seasons she’s been racing and it would be unwise to read too much into that defeat (she was only beaten by two and a half lengths). She’s acquitted herself well in both previous Group 1 outings – finding only Glass Slippers too good in a field of 14 when 18-1 for the Flying Five Stakes at Leopardstown last year and finishing a two-length fifth in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp where not ideally drawn. She was placed at this meeting last year (albeit off 96 in a handicap) and holds each-way claims.
UBETTABELIEVEIT 25/1 capped a successful two-year-old campaign with a fine third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, doing well to finish so close after a slow start. He failed to beat a rival when favourite for a 5.5f Group 3 at Chantilly on his comeback but is surely better than that. A fast-run race back at 5f will be ideal and he’s not without hope if the ground is on the quick side.
ARECIBO 33/1 looks to have improved for the switch to sprint expert Robert Cowell, landing Newmarket handicaps either side of his unlucky sixth in the Palace House Stakes. Small fields would seem to be the key – his wins have come in fields of 5, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11 runners – and he could surprise if this race cuts up.
Conclusion: Battaash, who starts the season as a seven-year-old, could be vulnerable this year, Glass Slippers tends to get better as the season progresses and Oxted is 0-4 since wind surgery. This trio were quoted at single-figure odds at the time of writing and it could pay to look beyond the head of the market. Liberty Beach has place claims, despite a 0-3 record at this level but CAME FROM THE DARK might be able to make the transition from successful handicapper to Group winner. Arecibo and Keep Busy are also considered.
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