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

Last Updated: 11.06.2019

Tuesday, 11th June 2019

Pointers for the Britannia & the King George….

This time next week, we’ll be looking forward to the gates opening on Day 1 of the Royal Ascot meeting....

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

Our primary focus on ATC will be with the latter races rather 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....

We have already 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 continue in that vein today – 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 2018 the race prize pot amounted to just under £120k with winning connections taking home just over £74k of that....

Favourites have won 3 of the last 17 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 over 14/1. 36 of the 51 horses to place over the test-period were sent off at 16s or bigger. There 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 17 winners of this race had been seen at least 3 times on a racetrack. Fifteen had raced more than 3 times. Fourteen had raced between three and seven times....
  • Something else to bear in mind. Fifteen of the 17 previous winners had raced no more than three times that season. Only one of the previous 17 winners had been off the track 50 days or more. Ten had been on the track within the last 4-weeks....
  • A total of 80 horses have gone to post since 2002 officially rated 98 or higher – producing 2 winner and 8 placers. Twelve of the other 15 winners were officially rated between 90 and 97. Fifteen of the last 17 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 11 of the 17 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 15 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....
  • Thirteen of the previous 17 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 £86k. Winning connections took home £56k of that....

Three favourites have won over the last 17-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 50 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 17-years. 36 have tried. Fourteen of the last 17 winners carried less than 9-00 to victory....
  • Sixteen of the last 17 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 17 winners had raced at least 3 times on the turf flat. Fifteen has raced no more than 6 times on grass....
  • Twelve of the last 17 winners came out of a double-figure stall. And that’s a hardening trend with inmates of double-figure stalls winning 11 of the last 13 renewals....
  • Mark Johnston is a handler with the happy knack in this race – saddling 5 winners and 4 placers since 2002. But be aware that he’s fired plenty of shots – 53 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 14 rises have produced a win and 5 places. William Buick is also a potent force on the round. His record in this race reads one win and 4 places from just 8 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