Day four of Royal Ascot is all about speed. With seven races on the card, including five races at Group level, headlined by the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup you’re in for some blistering action.
The Commonwealth Cup was Introduced in 2015 as part of a European reshuffle of the sprint programme, it’s run over six furlongs and open exclusively to three-year-old horses.
Of the five runnings of the Commonwealth Cup, only one filly has managed to claim victory over the boys, with Quiet Reflections winning the race in 2016. Four fillies are set to take their place in the line up this year, with Wesley Ward’s Kimari and Jessica Harrington’s Millisle both in with leading chances.
From the thoughts and analysis of our experts, the key Commonwealth Cup trends, Ascot free bets and our Commonwealth Cup tip itself, this is your one-stop-shop guide to everything you need to know about Royal Ascot day 4’s feature, the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
Commonwealth Cup Tip – Golden Horde
Golden Horde finished fifth over course and distance in last year’s Coventry Stakes but continued to build on that effort throughout the season.
He followed up with a Group 2 victory in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, where he beat a very smart Richard Hannon-trained horse in Threat, before twice finishing behind the equally talented Earthlight.
He pushed Earthlight all the way in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, going down by just a neck. He had the re-opposing Mums Tipple and Lope Y Fernandez behind him on that day and should have the better of them here once more.
His third behind Earthlight in the Prix Morny could be the key piece of form, however, as that was run on Heavy ground, and with conditions deteriorating, solid Group 1 form in slower conditions is a big positive, and something most of his rivals don’t have.
Clive Cox has long thought the world of this horse, and with no Earthlight here today, he looks to have a great chance of claiming a maiden Group 1 success.
Notable Commonwealth Cup Runners – Golden Horde’s Key rivals
Arrives here unbeaten, winning both of his starts to date, including the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes latest. He still looked incredibly green when winning the Mill Reef, as he was entitled to be on only his second start, but he asserted his dominance close home to that and very much falls into the could be anything category. Both of his runs to date have been on Good to Firm ground, so a rain-swept Ascot and soft ground will ask new questions of him.
Wesley Ward’s filly returns to Royal Ascot after going down narrowly to Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary last year. She acts best on quick ground and conditions went against her that day, and seem to be doing so again this year. She’s undoubtedly a very talented filly and was a shade unlucky to not win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint after a torrid trip. The conditions will be a real concern for connections, but she’s top class and gets a 3lb allowance from the boys.
Lope Y Fernandez
Comes here after his third-place effort in the Irish 1000 Guineas just seven days ago. That was a very respectable effort and he shaped as though the return to shorter would suit, lugging to the rail and weakening late on.
He was beaten just over three lengths by Golden Horde at Newmarket in the Middle Park Stakes, but that was run on quick ground. He’s 2-2 on Good to Yielding ground in Ireland, and the progeny of Lope De Vega typically have an affinity for soft ground, so that could help him bridge the gap.
Drops back in trip here after a slightly underwhelming performance over a mile in the 1000 Guineas. She was sent off joint second-favourite for the 1000 Guineas after a scintillating display in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket over today’s trip of 6f. She won her sole start on soft ground so you’d have little concern over the conditions, and a return to her Cheveley Park form would give her a chance here.
Put on one of the most impressive performances to the eye last season when routing his rivals by 11 lengths at Nottingham. He then finished 7th of 8 when upped into Group company, in behind a couple of these (Golden Horde and Lope Y Fernandez) in the Middle Park.
Stepped up to the mile in the 2000 Guineas, where be didn’t stay the trip, finishing a distant last. The return to 6f will definitely suit but has never raced on slower than Good ground and will need to improve to figure here.
Unexposed after just three stats, but ran to within a neck of Threat in the Champagne Stakes on just his second start despite being keen and awash with sweat in the preliminaries. Not seen to the best effect on bottomless ground in France latest, but handles soft and looks a likely improver if handling the drop back to 6f.
Commonwealth Cup Trends
With only five previous runnings of the Commonwealth, we don’t yet have a wealth of data to analyse, but from what we do have, there have been a few notable trends.
- 5 of the 5 winners have been drawn in stall 9 or higher
- 5 of the 5 winners have been no bigger than 12/1
- 4 of the 5 winners had won at least a Group 2
- 4 of the 5 winners have been colts
One of the most important trends and the only real trend based on a runner’s previous form is having previously won at, at least Group 2 level. This is a good indicator of the quality of form on offer and this year 4 runners fit that criteria in Golden Horde, Royal Lytham, Millisle and Shadn.
You have also typically wanted to be drawn high, a trend that we have also seen remain pertinent with races run on the straight course so far this week. Last year’s winner Advertise came from stall 9, which is the lowest drawn winner so far with the other four winners coming from stalls 22, 12, 12 & 18.
The winners haven’t been missed in the market either, with the biggest price winner coming by way of Eqtidaar at odds of 12/1 in 2018, the remaining four winners have returned at shorter than 10/1, with two winning favourites.
Colts have also dominated the early runnings of the Commonwealth cup, with Quiet Reflection the only filly to win the race. Four fillies run this year to try and buck that trend, but its historically paid to follow the colts.
The limited data and Commonwealth Cup trends suggest that you want to find a colt, whose drawn high, has won at least a Group 2 contest and is a single figure price.
The only horse to fit all of these trends is Clive Cox’s Golden Horde who is drawn in 10, has won a Group 2 and currently priced at around 6/1.
Of the other Group 2 or better winners, both Millisle and Shadn are fillies, with the former also drawn lower than 9 in 8. The only other colt to win at that level Royal Lytham is drawn low in stall 5, and all three are greater than 10/1 in price at the time of writing.
Trends Pick: Golden Horde
Ascot Draw Bias – Commonwealth Cup
A race that has seen larger fields than we have this year with just 17 planned to go to post, but the draw has been a key trend in the five runnings of the race.
The five previous Commonwealth Cup winners have all come from stall 9 or higher so it may pay to look for those drawn high again.
We have also seen this be the case throughout the week so far on the Straight Course with those running Stands’ side and thus drawn high, seemingly at an advantage to those on the Far side, drawn low.
Royal Ascot Commonwealth Cup Free Bet Offers
Get a head start with your Royal Ascot bets by signing up to a bookmaker account and claiming a free bet. With at least seven races each day, bookmaker free bets can come in handy and during Royal Ascot, firms will be competing with one another for the best offer. We have selected the best offers for our Royal Ascot Day 4 tips below, or you can view our free bets page for all the latest offers and free bets.