Commonwealth Cup Betting Tips & Predictions – Ascot, Friday 21st June 2019

One of the headline acts of Royal Ascot’s penultimate day is the recently introduced Commonwealth Cup. Since replacing the Buckingham Palace Stakes in 2015, it has quickly established itself as an important part of the five-day festival.

Geldings are eligible to compete in this race which is exclusively for three-year-olds, the only Group 1 flat race where this is the case. There are none among the field this year though in a field dominated by colts. From them, it’s Sioux Nation who makes for the most eye catching option.

Top Tips

Sioux Nation to win @ 5/1

Main Desire each way @ 16/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

There is little in the way of draw bias down Ascot’s straight course but starting out wide may be of help given the large field set for this year’s renewal. Avoiding traffic could be crucial for any jockey planning on leaving their attack late in this short sprint. While there are no geldings present this year, four fillies are among the fold with all of them enjoying a three pound allowance over the colts.

GoingDistanceGroupPrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to firm 6f 1 £500,000 22 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

With only three previous renewals it’s hard to pick out any meaningful trends in this race. All previous winners had a rating of at least 117 but that’s a run which will end here with Sands of Mali topping the ratings this year with a mark of 116.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2017 Caravaggio 5/6 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2016 Quiet Reflection 7/4 Karl Burke Dougie Costello
2015 Muhaarar 10/1 Charlie Hills Dane O’Neill

Analysis: Punters Putting Faith in Equilateral

Despite a complete lack of experience at this standard, Equilateral looks set to edge out Sioux Nation to begin this race as the favourite. Despite this being his Class 1 debut, his superb showing last time out is enough to make plenty believe his 4/1 price tag is justified.

Invincible Army is proving to be another popular choice for this race and with a course and distance win already secured, it’s no great surprise to see why. With such a large field for this year’s renewal though, you cannot focus your attention solely at the top of the market.

Odds too short for Equilateral

It’s true that Equilateral did blow the field away at Doncaster last month but among Class 5 company, there’s only so much you can take from this showing. He’s clearly benefitted from a long winter break but to go from Class 5 to Group 1 is an extreme jump. It wasn’t like the bay colt clocked an especially rapid time at Doncaster either. At longer odds he’s arguably worth the gamble but 4/1 is not a price worth taking.

Ground to give Sioux Nation the edge

Invincible Army has finished inside the top two in his last six starts but his best performances have tended to come with give in the ground. This is not the case for Sioux Nation who has tended to underperform on soft going. His record on good to firm is near perfect however and it’s on such going that he won the Phoenix Stakes at Curragh and the Norfolk Stakes here at Ascot. After thriving on this course previously, there’s every chance he’ll do it again this time.

Main Desire an outside option

Michael Bell’s bay filly is a horse to watch out for at her long price. Currently unbeaten after three career starts, two at Listed level, she’s set to make her six furlong debut this Friday. She had plenty left to give when winning over the minimum distance at York last month so the extra furlong should be of little issue. She had the better of the 110 rated Hey Jonesy that day and could well perform better than expected again on ground that is set to suit.

Final Verdict: Sioux Nation To Win

Providing Ascot doesn’t get soaked by rain in the build-up to this race, Sioux Nation should be backed to extend his winning streak on good to firm ground. In such a large field, an each way side bet makes for a sensible option and for this there’s none better than the unbeaten filly Main Desire.

About

Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations

A shake up of sprint events across Europe triggered the introduction of the Commonwealth Cup in 2015. Replacing the discontinued Buckingham Palace Stakes on day four of the stupendous Royal Ascot meeting, it took no time in making headlines with a high class field of sprinters trying to take the inaugural prize. Now well recognised as one of the leading six furlong races on the continent, sprint races don’t come much bigger than this.

Usually top three-year-old sprinters would head for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but the age requirements changed the year the Commonwealth Cup first ran. The more established six furlong race is now only open to horses four and up, leaving this event as a strictly three-year-old only affair. There are no other entry limitations however with fillies welcome and able to enjoy a 3lb allowance if prepared to battle it out with the boys.

Fillies fighting with fire

A three pounds allowance to a half-ton horse may not sound a lot but it’s often said that one pound of weight equals one length in distance. Sprint races tend to be closely fought things so the fillies’ weight advantage in this race is not something you want to dismiss. The race is too young to draw any significant trends from but the short history of fillies below suggests they’ll continue to fare well in this race. Note that there is no record for 2017 as that year no fillies took part.

Commonwealth Cup – Top Performing Filly: 2015 to 2018

Year Horse Position Runners SP
2018 Anthem Alexander 3rd 18 8/1
2017 No Fillies Raced
2016 Quiet Reflection 1st 10 7/4
2015 Heartache 7th 22 28/1

Irish begin brightly

This race definitely carries some global appeal but horses born just the other side of the Irish Sea have stood out the most, as is so often the case. Although Irish horses are regularly a prominent part of the field, they have been over represented among those finishing high up the pecking order. Much like with the fillies, it’s too early to tell if this trend will last but early signs suggest it’s something you’ll want to bear in mind for future renewals.

Chart Showing the Nationalities of Horses Finishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the Commonwealth Cup Between 2015 and 2018

Goodbye to Buckingham

You’ll have struggled to find anyone voicing their opposition to the Commonwealth Cup’s introduction but it did come at the price of another event. The Buckingham Palace Stakes, a popular seven furlong handicap, was the race that made way having lasted just 12 years. While it was not a contest of any great historical significance, it did stand as the only handicap of such distance at Royal Ascot.

Fans of the now scrapped event asked why it was not possible to simply have seven races on one day, a common feature among many large meetings. Others would have preferred one of the Ascot Stakes or Queen Alexandra to have dropped out but the decision is unlikely to be reversed now.

Half a million pound mark breached

The idea behind the Commonwealth Cup was to create a “more balanced programme and better opportunities for high class sprinters.” Having a new Group 1 race has certainly helped achieve this and its inaugural appearance saw a near £400,000 purse entice the best trainers and owners to bring their horses to the party. Just three years later, in 2018, the prize fund had leapt nearly 20% higher, reaching half a million pounds for the first time. At the rate it’s going, it will soon overtake the Coronation Stakes as the most valuable race on day four of Royal Ascot.

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