Royal Ascot 2015: Prince Of Wales’ Stakes preview (16.20)
Runners from four different continents clash in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and Free Eagle is taken to land the 1m 2f feature race on the second day of Royal Ascot for Ireland.
The Dermot Weld trained colt as always been held in the highest regard but, after putting in stunning performance to win on his debut as a juvenile, suffered an injury when sent off odds-on an beaten by subsequent dual Derby winner Australia.
This son of of High Chaparral was then on the sidelines for 371 days before romping to a seven length success in a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown in the manner of a star performer in the making.
Free Eagle then ran an absolute stormer to finish a 1 1/2 length third to Noble Mission in the Group 1 Champion Stakes over course and distance when last seen in action on heavy ground which was not ideal.
It was a cracking effort for an inexperienced horse having just his fourth career start, and one which suggested Free Eagle would have little difficulty winning a Group 1.
The fact that regular classic winning jockey Pat Smullen rates him one of the best he has ridden and is convinced he will come into his own as a four-year-old speaks volumes and, with underfoot conditions ideal, Free Eagle holds outstanding claims of securing a first success at the highest level.
The Grey Gatsby has not been at his best in two starts this season, but had some top class form last year and looks a big player of the fitting of cheekpieces for the first time have the desired effect.
Trained in the north by Kevin Ryan, the son of Mastercraftsman enjoyed a terrific 2014 when landing Group 1 successes in the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes.
The four-year-old showed a tremendous attitude in the latter to beat Epsom and Irish Derby winner Australia by a neck, and that is the strongest form on offer in this line-up.
French raider Ectot disappointed when well-beaten in the Arc when last seen in action, but had won his six previous starts in the manner of a really progressive colt and may well have more to offer as a four-year-old and is a fascinating contender.
Another that should not be underestimated is the Sir Michael Stoute trained Cannock Chase, who was highly progressive last year and looked one to keep onside when winning a Group 3 contest at this meeting.
Although beaten in both starts this this season, Cannock Chase will relish the return to a fast surface and remains capable of better.
Coral betting tip: We’re running a promotion for new punters offering enhanced odds for Free Eagle to be placed.