Sole Power looks a worthy favourite to win his third King's Stand, but this 33/1 shot could out run his odds.
Royal Ascot – King Stand’s Stakes (due off 3.40pm)
Sole Power is bidding to become the first horse to win this race three times, having landed the last two renewals, and bookmakers give him a favourite’s chance. Eddie Lynam’s sprinter has been the dominant force in Europe over the past three seasons and he is ideally suited by a fast-run 5f on fast ground, which allows him to come with his customary late burst. Ascot’s stiff finish is ideal as the other horses are slowing up and he looked as good as ever when winning Al Quoz Sprint at the Dubai World Cup meeting in March, when his rivals went far too fast early for their own good. Given his style of running, though, he will need the breaks to come at the right time.
Who else is fancied?
Muthmir’s lofty reputation has yet to be fully translated fully to the track, although his victory in last season’s Portland Handicap was in the style of a top-notch performer and his latest narrow success in a Group 2 at Chantilly came on unsuitable slow ground. We are almost certainly yet to be see the best of him and, providing he settles better here (pulled too hard when only fifth at York on his reappearance), he looks sure to hand a hand in the closing stages.
Australia has provided the winner three times this millennium, most recently with Scenic Blast in 2009, and their sole challenger this year, Shamal Wind, demonstrated she had speed to burn when winning the the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate over 51/2 f in February. Absent since, she has run well after a break in the past and connections have snapped up the services of Ryan Moore.
Mecca’s Angel has come a long way since winning a Southwell nursery a little under two years ago and Michael Dod’s filly looked better than ever when winning a Group 3 at Longchamp last month in course record time. She’s never won on ground faster than good, however, and it will be a surprise if the word ‘firm’ doesn’t appear in the going description for the opening day.
Any decent outsiders?
G Force is better than he showed when only eighth in the Temple Stakes last time as he was badly hampered at a crucial stage, and a fast-run 5f is probably ideal for him. Pearl Secret was a surprise winner of that Group 2 and she’s likely to be found out at this level, while last season’s close Abbaye second Rangali seems best when there is plenty of give. On the other hand, fast ground holds no fears for Wind Fire, who finished third in the Temple despite being denied a clear run, and she showed she could handle the track / occasion when third to No Nay Never at last year’s royal meeting.
Choice trainer quote: “If Wind Fire had a clear run she would have won, she is a real proper filly.” – David Brown.
Sole Power is a worthy favourite but he will need some luck in running (for the third year running?) and besides bookmakers are hardly giving him away. Muthmir has been threatening to win a big one and this could be his day in the sun, with the fast ground he needs likely to prevail. However, any value in his odds has dried up and I’d rather back one each-way against the field, with David Brown’s WIND FIRE taken to surprise. She appears to be betting better / quicker with age and we know she will handle the track. At 33/1 with bet365, a place will ensure a tasty profit and a bumper payday would not be a total surprise.