Exosphere to excel in Princess Of Wales’s Stakes
David Metcalf | July 6, 2016
Exosphere holds excellent claims in Princess Of Wales’s Stakes
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has a superb record in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes, and Exosphere can further enhance it with victory in the this year’s renewal of the 1m 4f contest on the opening day of the July Festival at Newmarket (15:15).
Newmarket handler Stoute has won the race nine times courtesy of Shardari (1986), Rock Hopper (1991), Saddlers’ Hall (1992), Little Rock (2000), Gamut (2005), Papal Bull (2007), Doctor Fremantle (2009), Crystal Capella (2011) and Fiorente (2012).
In Exosphere, he has a colt who had shown progressive form prior to disappointing last time out at Royal Ascot – where the soft ground was totally against him.
The four-year-old has won four of his eight starts and took his form to a new level on seasonal reappearance when romping to a four-length success in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes.
Devastating display against top class opposition
After travelling strongly behind the leaders under a confident Ryan Moore, Exosphere cruised into contention two from home before taking up the running approaching the last and quickening clear to beat Simple Verse.
It was a devastating display to defeat a dual Group 1 winner so comprehensively, and Exosphere had the six-runner field strung out like washing.
Judged on the manner of that performance, he was sent off a heavily-backed favourite for the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Stoute’s fears about the rain softened ground proved correct and he could only finish eighth behind stable companion Dartmouth.
However, Exosphere was not given a hard time once it was clear he would not be winning, so the return to a quicker surface can see him bounce back and get back to winning ways.
The Grey Gatsby feared most
The Grey Gatsby has some top class form to his name and looks sure to go well. Trained by Kevin Ryan, the five-year-old enjoyed a terrific campaign in 2014 when capturing three Group 1 contests.
They included the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes and, although The Grey Gatsby failed to get his head in front last season, he did post some solid efforts including when runner-up to Golden Horn in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
That is very strong form, and The Grey Gatsby shaped well on seasonal reappearance when fourth to My Dream Boat in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
This son of Mastercraftsman is sure to strip much sharper for the outing, and The Grey Gatsby is the highest rated runner in the line-up and officially has 3lb in hand on Exosphere.
However, he is not getting any younger whereas Exosphere remains relatively lightly-raced and open to further improvement.
You’ll find Newmarket tips throughout the July Festival in our horse racing section.
Coral’s top tip: Exosphere will relish the return to a sounder surface and rates a solid bet to provide trainer Stoute with yet another winner of the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes.