Flat racing’s summer showpiece gets under way with plenty of style off the course but plenty of substance on the track with three Group One races on the opening day of the royal meeting.
Accidental Agent is looking to repeat last year’s success in the opening Queen Anne Stakes but it might be worth noting that no horse has ever defended this crown. Eve Johnson Houghton’s stable star was also a rare big-priced winner of this race at 33/1 and it usually pays to concentrate on those at the head of the market, with only three of the last 17 winners priced at bigger than 12/1 and 14 of those 17 returning with starting prices of 13/2 or shorter.
Interestingly, 13 of the previous 17 winners had already tasted success at Group One level, which counts against favourite Le Brivido. When taking the price factor into contention, the field is narrowed to only Laurens and Barney Roy.
Some of the fastest sprinters in the world contest the King’s Stand Stakes (3.40pm) and market leaders have a poor record of late, with Scenic Blast in 2009, the last winning favourite.
The stats also suggest fancied runner Sergei Prokofiev faces a tough task, with only US raider Lady Aurelia successful as a three-year-old in the last ten years and only three horses of that age successful since the turn of the century.
Given 12 of the last 17 winners returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting and the same number finished first or second last time out, Blue Point can take this for Godolphin.
Favourite backers will have loved the St James’s Palace Stakes since 2002 with 11 of the last 17 market leaders finding their way into the winner’s enclosure, while all of the last 17 winners were 9/1 or shorter in the market. Phoenix Of Spain has a solid chance but a more interesting contender could be Shaman. The French raider finished a length behind Persian King in the French Guineas and that horse would go off favourite if lining up here.
On trends, the best bet of the day could well be Elarqam in the Wolferton Handicap (5.35). He is the only runner to meet the key criteria of being a four-year-old who has already won over 1m2f, has between one and three career wins and has raced fewer than three times this season.