Prince of Wales's Stakes
Wednesday 21st June, 16:20
1. Decorated Knight (Roger Charlton/Andrea Atzeni)
Has certainly hit his straps over the past 12 months, more progress this season in winning three of his four starts, including two Group 1s, namely the Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March and the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh (Deauville third, Johannes Vermeer fifth) last time. Got first run there, but won with something in hand.
2. Highland Reel (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Dual Group 1 winner as a three-year-old in 2015 and proved admirably consistent in nine starts in top company last season, adding to his tally at the highest level with victories in the King George at Ascot in July and the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November. Below par on reappearance in Dubai, but bounced back when making all in the Coronation Cup at Epsom (by one and three quarter lengths from Frontiersman) last time. Tough sort.
3. Jack Hobbs (John Gosden/William Buick)
2015 Irish Derby winner who has been limited to just four starts since. Latest of those came when winning the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan (by two and a quarter lengths from Seventh Heaven) in March, producing a top-class effort in first-time blinkers, and shaping as if there could still be more to come. Sets the standard on form, though possibly vulnerable on quick ground over this trip.
4. Johannes Vermeer (Aidan O'Brien/Donnacha O'Brien)
Good-topped colt won three of his six starts as a two-year-old in 2015, including the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud, and shaped as if retaining plenty of ability when three lengths third on belated return in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket in October. Better than bare result when four and a quarter lengths fifth in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last time, not ideally placed, but has plenty to find on form.
5. Mekhtaal (Jean-Claude Rouget/Gregory Benoist)
Progressive colt who was a good neck second to Cloth of Stars in the Prix d'Harcourt at Chantilly on his return to action in April, and at least as good when landing first Group 1 win in five-runner Prix d'Ispahan on same course (by neck from Robin of Navan) last month. Handles any ground and cannot be totally discounted.
6. Scottish (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle)
Consistent sort who won a listed race at Newbury and the Strensall Stakes at York last season, before rounding off the year with good three lengths second to Jameka in Caulfield Cup (Handicap) in Australia (missed Melbourne Cup after). Seasonal reappearance.
7. Ulysses (Sir Michael Stoute/Jim Crowley)
Won two of six starts as a three-year-old in 2016, including the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in July, and signed off with an improved fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November. Better than ever when making a successful return in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown (by a length from Deauville) in April, overcoming unfavourable circumstances to score convincingly, and should have more to offer for trainer that has excelled with similar types.
8. Nezwaah (Non-runner)
9. Queen's Trust (Sir Michael Stoute/Olivier Peslier)
Attractive filly who progressed right through her three-year-old season, winning the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita (by a nose from Lady Eli) in November. Needed the run on return at York last month and should prove capable of better here, though more needed to trouble the best males.
Timeform Prince of Wales's Stakes 1-2-3
2. Highland Reel
3. Jack Hobbs
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
ULYSSES was only fourth behind Highland Reel at the Breeders' Cup in 2016, but he looked far more the finished article when making a successful reappearance in a Group 3 at Sandown in April, and remains with potential after just 8 starts. High-class pair Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs are also big players despite this trip being short of their optimum.