Last year’s race
- Winner: Ardad
- Jockey: R Havlin
- Trainer: J H M Gosden
- Owner: Mr Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah
- Age: 2 Weight: 9st 3lb
- Starting Price: 20/1
- Season Form Figures: 1
- Previous Best: 1st - Novice Stakes, Yarmouth (June 2016)
Upgraded from a conditions event to a Listed Race 13 seasons ago, the Windsor Castle Stakes remains the weakest two-year-old race of Royal Ascot from a quality perspective despite its elevation which contributes to why it is very weak on trends.
Six of the last 11 winners started at 100/1, 33/1, 20/1 (x2), 16/1 and 14/1 so it has also been the hardest two-year-old race of the meeting to solve and the tide has turned in a big way as far as the market being a guide is concerned as the previous 21 winners up until 2006 had started in the first six in the betting. The last two runners-up were also sent off at 100/1.
This had been a race that gave the smaller trainer a chance but the last three winners emanated from the stables of Wesley Ward, Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden. That 100/1 winner, Flashmans Papers, was trained by John Best whose 50/1 newcomer Kingsgate Native finished second the previous season so we have to look twice at anything he aims at the race whether they have experience or otherwise (the 1995 and 1996 winners were also debutants).
Don’t dismiss maidens as they have won twice in the not so distant past.
Other trainers to note are Mick Channon who has been successful with Great Deeds (1993), Kalindi (1999) and Holborn (2003) as well as twice filling the runner-up position and Jamie Osborne who has won with Irony (2001) and Drawnfromthepast (2007).
The Irish don’t attack this race with great force and Aidan O’Brien’s Washington D C was giving them their first win since 1980 in 2015 Very surprisingly, however, given his record with two-year-olds, and notably early-season two-year-olds, this is a race that eluded Richard Hannon Snr during his long, distinguished career so his son will be hoping to improve on that record and has had two placed runners.
Fillies had a belting record in the mid-late 1990s winning all five runnings between 1996 and 2000 but they have been poorly represented of late and it’s been the colts all the way since the turn of the century. Also, and in total contrast to the other two-year-old races at the meeting, don’t dismiss maidens as they have won twice in the not so distant past.
At a glance summary
- Trained by Mick Channon, Jamie Osborne or John Best
- Do not be put off by big prices or overlook racecourse debutants
- Trained by Richard Hannon