By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker
Aussie Raider Star Witness Favourite for Royal Ascot Sprint
There have been four Australian-trained winners of the King’s Stand Stakes and there appears to be growing confidence behind the sole raider from the Southern Hemisphere in Tuesday’s renewal of the Royal Ascot sprint, Star Witness, who won this race aboard Scenic Blast in 2009.
A dual grade one winner in Australia, the four-year-old is currently priced up at around the 7-2 mark for this five-furlong contest, which has a real international flavour this year. To be candid, while it’s a competitive renewal, it’s not the hottest in terms of strength in depth, and Star Witness looks sure to play a big part.
With 19 set to go to post, there is a chance that the draw will have an effect on the result, despite the fact that, officially, there is no significant advantage on the straight course at Ascot. There is, as you would expect in a Group 1 race over the minimum trip, plenty of speedy front-runners spread across the 19 stalls, so it’s difficult to predict.
Personally, when there is a bit of give underfoot, I am of the opinion that it pays to race close to the near side running rail, so those drawn high could be at an advantage on Tuesday. Tactically, few jockeys are more adept than Ryan Moore, so it will be interesting to see whether he opts to steer Kingsgate Native towards the near or far side, and I can see Sir Michael Stoute’s charge running a big race.
The four-year-old progressed fast last season, winning a Newmarket handicap in July before going on to prove herself a genuine Pattern-class performer by finishing a close-up third in the King George Stakes at Goodwood before landing Group 3 races at The Curragh and Newbury. She possesses a sharp turn of foot and I believe she has every chance of emulating Miss Andretti, who struck for the fairer sex in the 2007 King’s Stand.
Sole Power, who proved three parts of a length too strong for Kingsgate Native in the Temple Stakes at Haydock, merits respect, but his low draw may not prove ideal, while he held a fitness advantage over the latter on that occasion, so wouldn’t be sure to confirm the placings. Prohibit, third in that contest, subsequently went close in a Group 2 in France and has each-way claims, but Hungarian raider Overdose was disappointing in the Temple Stakes and needs to bounce back.
Recommendation: ASTROPHYSICAL JET
THE KING’S STAND STAKES
Class One, Group One, £300,000 Total Prize Fund. British Champions Series & Global Sprint Challenge. Five furlongs. For three-year-olds and upwards. 3.05pm, Royal Ascot, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. Entries closed, April 19, entries revealed, April 20 (59 entries). Scratchings deadline, Tuesday, May 24 (24 remained). Six-day confirmation & £30,000 supplementary entry stage Wednesday, June 8 (21 six-day confirmations). Final declaration stage 10.00am, Sunday, June 12. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, June 7. May not include some overseas form.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
115/050- ARCTIC (IRE) 4 Richard Pegum Tracey Collins IRE
21 six-day confirmations
1 French trained
1 Hong Kong-trained
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