Royal Ascot Sectional Debrief: Prince Of Wales's Stakes

Al Kazeem was successful on day two of Royal Ascot.

Simon Rowlands reflects on the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes...

"James Doyle on Al Kazeem seemed alive to what was happening sooner than some of his rivals. He began to get after his mount just before the sectional was reached and found a most willing and able partner..."

For the second time in three years, the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot served up a thrilling finish in which a leader was run down close home and beaten by a neck. In 2011, it was Rewilding who overhauled So You Think; this year Al Kazeem got up to beat Mukhadram

In other respects, though, the two races were dissimilar. Ryan Moore was criticised for pressing on too soon on So You Think, in a race run at a strong pace, while James Doyle might have been castigated had he not got there on Al Kazeem in a less truly-run affair.  So You Think ran his last 3f in about 37.9 sec, which represents a speed roughly 98.4% of his average through the race.

Al Kazeem was finishing quite a bit faster in both absolute and relative terms, as the figures below show:

prince of wales's sectionals.png

The optimum speed % for 10f at Royal Ascot - established from many races run at the course since it was relaid in 2005 - lies somewhere between Rewilding's 99.9% and Al Kazeem's 105.5%. Indeed, it was seventh-placed Side Glance, run out of the places only after 2f out, who performed most efficiently by that measure. 

The figures also highlight what a canny ride Paul Hanagan gave the runner-up. Without going too quickly, he managed to get two lengths up at the sectional, had grabbed about another length a furlong later, and was still running on well at the line. 

The truth is, however, that James Doyle on Al Kazeem seemed alive to what was happening sooner than some of his rivals. He began to get after his mount just before the sectional was reached and found a most willing and able partner into the bargain. Anything further back at the sectional never got in a blow. 

Doyle rode the winners of the next two races, Belgian Bill and Rizeena, also, and is a serious emerging talent. 

The really eye-catching performance on sectionals was that of The Fugue in third on her reappearance. She ran the last 3f fastest of all, having turned in around nine lengths down, and was going on well at the line. The sectionals suggest she was the equal of Mukhadram on the day, though Al Kazeem should still be considered superior to the pair of them. The Fugue looks certain to pick up a big race or two this year.

Camelot and Maxios can also be marked up, but there was nothing in the sectionals to suggest they were disadvantaged to a sizeable degree. Al Kazeem had come from behind Camelot in a steadily-run race at the Curragh the time before and it was no great surprise that he extended his advantage under these circumstances. 

The Prince of Wales's Stakes' time was the fastest for the race on this course and was only 0.54 sec outside the course and distance record set by the top-class Cirrus des Aigles in 2011. That is, in large part, a reflection of ground conditions that are clearly quick, Timeform reckoned it was already firm on the straight course on the first day.

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