One of the highlights of next week’s Royal Ascot race meeting will undoubtedly be the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes to be run on Wednesday, with last year’s Derby hero Masar entering the fray.
The four-year-old sailed through his last routine workout yesterday.
The 2000m contest – rather than the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes over 1600m three days later – is “the percentage call”, said trainer Charlie Appleby.
Masar, at 7-1 in antepost betting for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, will be ridden for the first time since his two-year-old days by James Doyle.
“He looks well toned up and Royal Ascot would hopefully be on the cards. We’ll consult with Sheikh Mohammed and see how the ground is but at the moment the percentage call would be the Prince of Wales’s Stakes rather than the Hardwicke,” said Appleby.
Doyle’s commitment to Godolphin and Masar means favourite Sea Of Class will be without her regular rider. Her trainer William Haggas has not yet found a replacement.
Meanwhile Frankie Dettori has booked the ride on Crystal Ocean in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
The five-year-old, who also had the option of going for back-to-back victories in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, was partnered by Dettori in a workout on the Al Bahathri Polytrack in Newmarket yesterday morning.
“Crystal Ocean is in good shape and the plan is to go for the 2000m race on the Wednesday with Frankie to ride,” said trainer sir Michael Stoute.
Previously, Stoute had turned to William Buick to partner Crystal Ocean when Ryan Moore was unavailable, but Buick is sidelined, still recovering from head trauma.
Owned by Sir Evelyn De Rothschild, the consistent Crystal Ocean has yet to break through at the highest level, but has won six Group races and has finished second in a St Leger, King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Champion Stakes.
He was last seen recording an easy success in Newbury’s Aston Park Stakes for the second year running. He will not, however, find things easy in the Prince of Wales’s. He is 5-1 for the Group 1 Stoute has captured previously with Hard Fought, Stagecraft and Poet’s Word.
Crack French middle-distance performer Waldgeist is also due to line up.
Dettori has won the Prince of Wales’s three times with Fantastic Light, Grandera and Rewilding. – racingpost.com