How to Bet the Prince of Wales's Stakes
In handicapping Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) on the second day of , the key question to consider is simple—is #2 Cracksman vulnerable to an upset?Trained by , the brilliant son of Frankel has won his last five starts—all at the Group 1 or Group 2 level—with varying degrees of authority. In fact, he reached the pinnacle of his career with a tremendous seven-length win in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) last October over the same ten-furlong course and distance as the Prince of Wales’s, earning a massive 131 Racing Post Rating in the process.
Cracksman kicked off his 2018 campaign with an easy win in the Prix Ganay (Fr-I) at Longchamp, but seemed something less than his unbeatable self when rallying to win the Coronation Cup (Eng-I) at Epsom earlier last month by a desperate head.
There’s no doubt that Cracksman ran below his best form at Epsom, though perhaps this shouldn’t be viewed as a surprise since Cracksman was beaten in the Derby at Epsom last year and was all out to win the Derby Trial over the same course, hinting that perhaps he doesn’t care for the tricky conditions at Epsom.
If this is indeed the case, then Cracksman should prove difficult or impossible to beat while returning to Ascot for the Prince of Wales’s, and since he’ll be a heavy favorite in the wagering, we won’t get too creative with our bets, instead keying Cracksman on top while attempting to identify the most likely runners to round out the trifecta.
The second choice in the wagering is the accomplished #6 Poet’s Word, distant runner-up behind Cracksman in the Champion Stakes. He signaled that he’s still in good form by scoring a comfortable win in the ten-furlong Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Eng-III) last month at Sandown, but you can make a case that #5 Hawkbill might be the superior runner at a better price. The son of Kitten’s Joy defeated Poet’s Word by three lengths in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) in March, and while he was no match for Cracksman in the Coronation Cup, but he got worked up before the start and simply didn’t fire after that, so it’s not hard to draw a line through that effort and expect him to rebound at Royal Ascot.
It’s also worth noting that Hawkbill won the Tercentenary Stakes (Eng-III) over this course and distance in 2016 and followed up with a win in the ten-furlong Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) at Sandown, so although Hawkbill hasn’t run this short in a while, he does have excellent back class going ten furlongs.
Let’s also include #1 Cliffs Of Moher, runner-up in the Derby last year and a Group 2 winner this season for trainer Aidan O’Brien:
$10 trifecta: 2 with 5 with 1,6 ($20) $5 trifecta: 2 with 6 with 1,5 ($10)