The 2015 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes field has been released and Australian hopeful Criterion is set to face nine rivals in the Group 1 event at Royal Ascot tomorrow night.
Criterion earnt a tilt at the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes after he destroyed a quality field to take out the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and he continued his strong run of form with a third place finish behind Blazing Speed and Staphanos in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on April 26.
The Sebring entire will face the toughest challenge of his racing career to date in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, but is yet to miss a placing in five starts under the care of David Hayes and has impressed connections with the way that he has handled the undulating Royal Ascot track.
Another horse with Australian interests that is set to contest the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is Gailo Chop, who is owned by the OTI Racing Team of Terry Henderson and Simon O’Donnell.
Gailo Chop started his 2015 racing season with a second place finish behind Solow in the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan (1850m) at Longchamp on May 24 and he is likely to head to Australia for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
The outright favourite in Prince Of Wales’s Stakes betting markets is Irish galloper Free Eagle, who is set to have just his fifth race start after being very carefully placed throughout his career by trainer Dermot Weld.
Free Eagle recorded his maiden win at Group level when he took out the Group 3 Enterprise Stakes (2012m) in dominant fashion last year and he went on to finish third behind Noble Mission and Al Kazeem in the Group 1 Champion Stakes (2012m) at Ascot on October 18.
Another galloper that has been well-supported heading into the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is French hopeful Ectot, who will be returning to racing for the first time since he finished a disappointing 17th in the Group 1 Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) at Longchamp on October 5.
Ectot will be making his English racing debut in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and he is chasing his first Group 1 victory since he took out the 2013 edition of the Criterium International (1600m) at Saint Cloud.
One of the most interesting runners in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes Field is American horse California Chrome, but last year’s Kentucky Derby winner now looks likely to miss the race after he was found with a bruised foot this morning.
Japan will be represented in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes by Spielberg, who won the Group 1 Tenno Sho (2000m) and finished third in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) last year, while The Grey Gatsby is a proven Group 1 performer.
The 2015 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes field is rounded out by Sir Michael Stoute-trained Cannock Chase, last start winner The Corsican and John Gosden-trained Western Hymn.