15:05 Royal Ascot: Shamexpress can take King’s Stand

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The betting has generally been a useful guide to tracking down the winner of the King’s Stand Stakes in recent years, with seven of the last 10 winners sent off at 8/1 or shorter. Well-drawn Reckless Abandon looks the pick of the bunch this term, but Shamexpress could well spring a surprise at 10/1.

The odds compilers seem to have got the race roughly right again this term, with market leaders Shea Shea (2/1), Reckless Abandon (9/2), Sole Power (7/1) and Swiss Spirit (7/1) all having performed with the utmost credit in Group sprints in advance of the Royal meeting.

Shea Shea is thoroughly deserving of his place at the head of the betting, having smashed the Meydan 5f record twice during his breakout international campaign, beating Sole Power on both occasions. The re-opposing Spirit Quartz and Medicean Man were also on the list of the vanquished on the most recent of those runs in the Group 1 Al Quoz sprint.

Kingsgate Native (12/1) won the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock last time – a second success of the campaign – prevailing by the smallest of margins from Swiss Spirit and Reckless Abandon.

However, both the beaten pair had excuses that day, with Reckless Abandon carrying a Group-1-winner’s penalty that negated half of his weight-for-age allowance, and Swiss Spirit throwing down the mother of all challenges after being virtually stopped dead when leaving the stalls by a stumbling rival.

The former’s trainer Clive Cox said afterwards that the run would have him spot on for Ascot and the son of Exchange Rate – who’ll break from stall 13 – has an ideal berth from which to attempt to make the most of his 6lb weight-for-age concession. Six of the last nine winners (excepting the running at York) were housed in stalls 10-15.

An intriguing runner hovering at a double digit price or below is Shamexpress, a last time out winner of the Newmarket Handicap at Australia’s Flemington course. This was a victory – just the third in the colt’s 10-race career – that has plenty of significance with the King’s Stand in mind.

Aussie-trained runners have an immense record in the King’s Stand in recent years, with four winners and three placed horses from 15 runners in the last decade and three of those winners – Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast were doing so on the back of success in the Newmarket Handicap.

It may seem counterintuitive that the 6f Group 1 should prove such an able barometer to success in the 5f King’s Stand but – perhaps due to the relentless uphill gradient of Ascot’s home straight – the last 10 winners of the Ascot burn-up had all had the stamina to score over 6f.

This is just as well for Danny O’Brien’s colt – who has only ever taken one modest race over the basement trip – but nonetheless as the sole representative of a country that has such a rich history of success in the race 10/1 seems a decent each-way price.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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