Royal Ascot is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar and it’s that time of year once again. Ahead of the showpiece event, TSZ will look into a handful of the big Group 1 races; the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the Gold Cup, the Coronation Stakes and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. We will look back at the last 10 years at the trainers that have been successful in these races, at how often the favourites win, the starting prices of the winning horses and also a quick preview ahead of the races in 2016.
First up we will look at which trainers have been most successful over the last 10 years.
We can clearly see that Aidan O’Brien has been the dominant trainer with four wins in the last 10 years; this is of no surprise given that many experts believe the Ballydoyle stables to be the best training facility in the world.
Next up we will look at the record of the favourites in the race and the starting prices of the race winners.
The favourites have been very successful in this race, winning eight of the previous 10 races.
Five of the eight favourites to win have been heavily backed and fancied to win the race, returning at a starting price of less than evens.
This years running of the St James’s Palace Stakes is a marvellous prospect with a lot of quality in the field. The best trainer over the last 10 years, Aidan O’ Brien has a leading fancy in a horse called The Gurkha who has been impressive in only three starts and won the French Guineas on his last start. However, another horse with a big chance is Awtaad from lesser known trainer Kevin Prendergast; the horse won the Irish 2000 Guineas last time out, beating Galileo Gold who also runs.
On Wednesday the feature race is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes so let’s look at some of the race stats from the last 10 years.
There is not one trainer that dominates this race; however Aidan O’ Brien and Andre Fabre have the greatest success with two wins apiece in the last 10 years. There are big name trainers to feature on this list such as John Gosden and Dermot Weld, just to name a few, who have won the race once in recent times.
Five favourites from the last 10 runners have been successful, with only one of these backed heavily into odds of less than evens.
The most frequent starting price range of winners has been between evens and including 3-1.
For the 2016 running, Japanese trained horse A Shin Hikari is dominating the chatter and creating a lot of hype and is already less than even money to claim the victory.
On Thursday the Ascot Gold Cup is the feature race and is the greatest flat race in Britain for the horses labelled as the “stayers” that are aged four years and older.
Yet again we see the prowess of the Ballydoyle Stable led by Aidan O’ Brien, who has won this race six of the last 10 times. His high success rate is largely thanks to the brilliant horse called Yeats who won the race four years in a row from 2006-2009.
We can see that 60% of the favourites have won this race in the last 10 years, with the majority of starting prices falling between the evens to and including 3-1 range.
It is interesting to note that in the last 10 years, many of what you would call outsiders have won the race as often as less than even money favourites, with both categories seeing two wins each.
Both odds on favourites to win have been trained by Aidan O’ Brien (Yeats in 2007 & Leading Light in 2014) whilst the outside fancies to win have been trained by Dermot Weld (Rite of Passage in 2010 at 20-1) and Ed Dunlop (Trip to Paris in 2015 at 12-1)
In 2016, Aidan O’ Brien has another fancied horse in Order of St George as he tries to further add to his success in this race. Order of St George has won his last four starts with ease and is expected to run another big race here and I’m sure the starting price won’t be very big come race time.
One of the big races on Friday is the Coronation Stakes which is run over the same distance as the 1000 Guineas, however, here at Ascot, horses race around a bend unlike the race at Newmarket.
Finally a race with Aidan O’ Brien not showing the greatest dominance over in the last 10 years! Both John Gosden and Richard Hannon Sr. share two wins a piece here to make them the most successful trainers in the last 10 years.
Further support is added to the notion that this race is more open when we look at the starting prices of the winners. Not a single horse has won on even money or less, showing the lack of support from punters in willing to heavily back a particular horse in this race. The lowest price horse to win in the last 10 years was Ghanaati trained by Barry Hills in 2009 at 2-1.
A majority of the starting prices of winning horses fall between the starting prices of 4-1 and including 6-1.
The 2016 edition of the Coronation Stakes will be without the excellent horse Minding, who won the 2016 1000 Guineas meaning the race here at Ascot will be another open affair. Last year’s winning trainer Jean-Claude Rouget returns for another crack with Qemah, with Nemoralia trained by Jeremy Noseda also fancied to run a good race. Notable mentions should also go to Jet Setting (if it runs), Ballydoyle, and Nathra who are expected to be in the shakeup.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is one of the final big races of the Royal Ascot meeting. The race is a sprint over six furlongs and has attracted interest and runners from all over the world in recent years.
Without doubt the most open race of the big races we have looked at. In the last 10 years there has been a different winner with regards to the trainers, so no clues to which trainers target and have the greatest success in this race I’m afraid. However, it is worth noting that in recent years Wesley Ward, an American trainer, has had some excellent horses in the sprint races and was the winning trainer in last year’s race.
Only three favourites have won in the last 10 years in the running of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes with seven of the others failing to produce what the market expected.
This race has seen a lot of “outsiders” or decent price horses winning with four horses in the last 10 years being greater than 15-1 (Les Arcs at 33-1 in 2006, Kinsgate Native at 33-1 in 2008, Art Connoisseur at 20-1 in 2009 and Society Rock at 25-1 in 2011). So the winner of this race is not necessarily going to come from the top of the market and there could be good value to be found.
This year’s race sees last year’s winning horse Undrafted among the entrants at the confirmation stage as he looks to defend his crown. The Diamond Jubilee Stakes continues to have an international theme with entrants from Hong Kong (Gold Fun) Australia (Holler) France (Signs of Blessing) as well as another American entrant in Mongolian Saturday. The home charge is headed by trainer Charlie Hills with Magical Memory who has run excellently this season.
Royal Ascot 2016 promises to be another brilliant five days of horse racing and we can’t wait for it to get underway.