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Highland Reel the smart play for Prince of Wales

We take a look at why you should focus on O’Brien’s runner

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is a prestigious Group 1 race ran over 1m2f and is the feature race on day two of the Royal Ascot meeting.

No single trainer has managed to get a strangle hold on this race since the early 2000s, when Saeed bin Suroor trained three consecutive winners. Frankie Dettori rode the winners of the 2001 and 2002 contests all those years ago but following the news of his absence for the entire meeting, it’s Coral Racing Ambassador Jim Crowley who gets the leg up on Ulysses, who is given a chance at the odds available.

We focus our attention on another runner in Highland Reel though, who represents the powerful Aidan O’Brien stable and will have the benefit of having Ryan Moore in the saddle.

Moore to Reel another one in

Given Moore’s illustrious racing career to date, it’s hard to believe that he’s never actually won this particular race at Royal Ascot and he may not get a better chance to break that duck than with Highland Reel this year.

The five year old son of Galileo is as experienced as they come in this sphere, having run in a remarkable 17 Grade Ones in his career, winning five of them and placing in many more. No mean feat at all.

His run in the Sheema Classic at Meydan, where he was last of seven runners wasn’t a true reflection of his abilities. The re-opposing Jack Hobbs won that race with some purpose, but by now we’re all too aware of Highland Reel’s dislike for yielding ground, so it’s easy to put a line through that.

His win at Epsom last time out will have been much more pleasing for backers where, back on more forgiving ground, he asserted his authority to take the Coronation Cup and set himself up nicely for this race.

Jack Hobbs the main danger

The major question mark is whether Jack Hobbs can confirm the form with Highland Reel now back on quicker ground and dropped back to 1m2f and there’s enough to suggest he can. His penultimate run before this race came over course and distance on good ground in the Group 1 Champion Stakes in October, where he came a close third behind Almanzor and Found.

Interestingly, Found has ran since in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on firm ground and came third, with none other than Highland Reel winning that race four lengths clear of his stablemate. Based on that form line, it’s not too bold to think that Highland Reel may have the measure of Jack Hobbs in quicker conditions.

Do you fancy Highland Reel to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes? Will Jack Hobbs go on to steal the show? Will a massive outsider cause an upset? Whatever you think will happen, make sure you get over to Coral and get your bets on before the off!