Pointers for the Britannia & the King George....

Last Updated: 11.06.2018

Monday, 11th June 2018

Pointers for the Britannia & the King George….

This time next week, we’ll be on the eve of the 2018 Royal meeting at Ascot....

It’s one of the best meetings on the British programme – boasting eight G1 races and eight massive handicaps....

Our primary focus on ATC will be with the latter racer than the former....

We might have a crack at the two extremes represented by the King’s Stand Stakes and the Gold Cup – simply because we like those races – but we are ostensibly about handicaps rather than conditions races....

Last week we made a start on the spadework for the Royal handicaps – highlighting what the historic record reveals about the Ascot Stakes, the Royal Hunt Cup and the Sandringham Handicap....

We begin this week in a similar vein – drawing the Britannia Stakes and the King George V Stakes under the spotlight....

  • The Britannia -  a huge 3yo field....

Day 3 of the Royal meeting serves up the Britannia Stakes – a race first run back in 1928....

Run over the same trip – a mile – and the same part of the Ascot track as the previous day’s Royal Hunt Cup, the Britannia Stakes is another race that attracts a massive field year-on-year. A field of 21 went to post in 2005.

That would be a bumper field under any other circumstances – but not here. No fewer than 27 horses have gone to post every other year since 2002 – as far back as my personal records go....

The difference between this race and the Royal Hunt Cup is that this race is restricted to 3yo colts and geldings rated 0 to 105.

The money isn’t quite so good as the previous day’s race. In 2017 the race prize pot amounted to £120k with winning connections taking home £74k of that.

Favourites have won 3 of the last 16 renewals. Four more renewals since 2002 were taken by horses sent off in the top-3 in the betting. But it’s a mixed bag offering everybody encouragement with another 7 winners scoring at odds ranging from 16s to 33s. The average winning SP amounts to just under 15/1. 34 of the 48 horses to place over the test-period were sent off at 16s or bigger. Theirs is plenty to shoot for.

  • Key stats for the Britannia....

Before you head for the nitty-gritty of the formbook, there are one or two broader race features to factor into your thinking....

  • You generally need enough experience to win this race – but not too much. All the previous 16 winners of this race had been seen at least 3 times on a race track. Fourteen had raced more than 3 times. Thirteen had raced between three and seven times....
  • Something else to bear in mind. Fourteen of the 16 previous winners had raced no more than three times that season. Only one of the previous 16 winners had been off the track 50 days or more. Ten had been on the track within the last 4-weeks....
  • A total of 73 horses have gone to post since 2002 officially rated 98 or higher – producing 2 winner and 8 placers. Eleven of the other 14 winners were rated between 90 and 97. Fourteen of the last 16 winners carried 9-01 or less to victory....
  • When it comes to the draw, the high number stalls represent the percentage play. Horses running out of a double-figure berth have won 10 of the 16 renewals since 2002.... 
  • This another one of those Royal Ascot races – up the straight – where Jamie Spencer has proven himself a key advantage to a horse. His last 14 rides produced 4 winners and 4 placers. And he was 7th on a couple more. It’s an incredible record. And it’s worth noting – especially when you consider two of the winners were sent off 25s and 16s whilst two of the placers were sent off 22s and 33s. The market doesn’t always respect the Spencer record or his absolute prowess on the strip. And that can deliver value opportunities....
  • Twelve of the previous 16 winners had already won races at either 7f or a mile....
  • The market has a handle on the King George....

The King George V Stakes is another event to look forward to on Day 3 of the meeting....

It’s a class 2 event for 3yo horses rated 0 to 105. They go at it over the right-handed 12-furlong trip comprising two bends....

Once again, you can rely on a big field lining up. There’s only been one year since 2002 when less than 16-runners went to post....

Last year the prize pot amounted to £90k. Winning connections took home £56k of that....

Three favourites have won over the last 16-years (two of them joint-favourites). Another five renewals were won by horses sent off second or third in the betting.

The figures for this race are somewhat skewed by the fact that Richard Fahey’s Cosmic Sun produced a big shock in 2009 by winning the race having been sent off at 66s. Take that renewal out and the average winning SP over the period amounts to just over 9s.

The fact that only 14 of the 47 placers over the test-period were sent off at 16s or bigger tells you that the market has a better handle on this handicap than some of the others at the meeting.

That said, handicaps are handicaps. The right horse going off at the wrong price always has a chance. After, all he doesn’t know what price he is. And it is always worthwhile taking steps to dig such animals out.

  • Field-splitters for the King George....

Before you get the spade out, you should take heed of one or two factors arising from the historic record....

  • No horse has managed to win this race off a mark bigger than 95 over the last 16-years. 35 have tried. Thirteen of the last 16 winners carried less than 9-00 to victory....
  • Fifteen of the last 16 winners had raced on the track within the previous 6-weeks. 47 horses have attempted to defy a break of 6-weeks or longer over the period. Only Mark Johnston’s Linas Selection was able to do so – back in 2006. And it is worth noting that he was well-fancied....
  • All the previous 16 winners had raced at least 3 times on the turf flat. Fourteen has raced no more than 6 times on grass....
  • Eleven of the last 16 winners came out of a double-figure stall. And that’s a hardening trend with inmates of double-figure stalls winning 10 of the last 12 renewals....
  • Mark Johnston is a handler with the happy knack in this race – saddling 4 winners and 4 placers since 2002. But be aware that he’s fired plenty of shots – 47 to be exact – to get those in the frame. Sir Michael Stoute has done well too – without firing so many bullets. Twenty representatives have produced 2 wins and 6 places. Saeed Bin Suroor has a decent record too – with his last 8 runners producing a win and 3 places.
  • Ryan Moore rides the round track at Ascot well. And he’s been on the premises in this race a few times. His 13 rises have produced a win and 5 places. William Buick is also a potent force on the round. Hs record in this race reads one win and 3 places from just 7 rides.
  • The last word….

That’s enough to be getting on with for today....

I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd