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 sprint which is exclusively for three year olds, the only Group 1 flat race where this is the case.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 19th June 2020
- Winner: Golden Horde
- SP: 5/1
- Trainer: Clive Cox
- Jockey: Adam Kirby
Despite a fair bit of rain forecast ahead of this one, the going is still described as good at the time of writing, though this might change before the off. Run over a distance of six furlongs, this Group 1 affair offers a total of £250,000 in prize money, with £148,000 going to winning connections.
There are 17 runners set to go to post, with bookies paying out a fifth of the odds for top four finishers on each way bets.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||6f||Group 1||£250,000||17 Runners||1/5 1-4|
Commonwealth Cup Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
The first edition of the Commonwealth Cup was won by something of an outsider as Muhaarar won at 10/1. That was followed by two winning favourites (Quiet Reflection and Caravaggio) suggesting that this is a race for top class horses. That early trend didn’t last long though as Eqtidaar and Advertise went in at 12/1 and 8/1 respectively in the last two renewals so punters must cast their net wider than just the very top of the betting.
Although the horses contesting the Commonwealth Cup are very much on the way up, it takes a certain amount of previous high class form to go on and win this. Horses with an official rating much below 110 heading into the race will need a lot of improvement if they are to win.
To back up the idea that horses need to be well rated to win this, one of the most important early trends is previous top level form. Horses who have at least been competitive in Group 1 or Group 2 races have a statistical edge with the obvious caveat being the race’s age meaning there isn’t too much to go on in terms of the stats.
|Pierre Lapin||7/2||110||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni|
|Golden Horde||7/1||114||Clive Cox||Adam Kirby|
|Millisle||10/1||115||Jessica Harrington||Tom Marquand|
Pierre Lapin (7/2)
Pierre Lapin is the bookies’ favourite to win the Commonwealth Cup on the back of just two previous performances. Connections have been hopeful of big things from him ever since he was purchased as a yearling for 140,000 guineas.
Pierre Lapin is certainly very well bred. That was the main reason why he was so easy to back on debut at Haydock last May. Those who were on board that day must have felt comfortable throughout the race as he travelled smoothly right from the start and by the time Frankie Dettori asked him for maximum effort it was clear that he was the best horse in the race.
The nature of that debut win suggested that he would relish the sterner test posed by Ascot but it was not to be as he missed a potential run in the Coventry Stakes. By the time Pierre Lapin made it back to the track for the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes, some were concerned that the break was too long and although he was a little keen he soon stamped his class all over the opposition, pulling away very well.
Belatedly, we will get to see just how well suited Pierre Lapin is to Ascot but will his lack of experience relative to the field be his undoing? He does look short enough at odds of 7/2 and you would have to be very keen on him to get on at those odds.
Golden Horde (7/1)
If the favourite is to be slightly vulnerable in the Commonwealth Cup then it should pay to have one or two horses on board each way. The most tempting each way option in the race looks to be Golden Horde who appears very well priced at 7/1.
After winning a modest novice on his second career run, Golden Horde looked to have been thrown in at the deep end with a run in the Coventry Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot. He ran much better than his starting price of 33/1 suggested he would and could well have done better than fifth were it not for running into some trouble late on.
That was the start of a very positive run of form for Golden Horde. First, he reversed the form with Threat from Ascot by winning the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and then he battled away very well to claim third place in the Prix Morny in his first taste of Group 1 action. He got closer to Prix Morny winner Earthlight on his final appearance of last season in the Middle Park Stakes and it won’t take much improvement from that sort of form to claim a place at least.
This strange season has been made it very tough for all trainers involved in the flat racing game. The inability to get warm up runs has hurt the chances of some very good horses in the biggest races of the campaign so far. That may well have been the reason why Millisle was so disappointing in the 1,000 Guineas for which she was backed in to a starting price of 4/1.
She didn’t look anything like the same calibre as when winning the Cheveley Park Stakes last season but can be forgiven for not finding her best against such high class opposition on her first run. She should come on for that run which makes her a very interesting contender as she drops back to six furlongs, a trip which should allow her to make the most of her pace.
Commonwealth Cup Winners
|2020||Golden Horde||5/1||Clive Cox||Adam Kirby|
|2019||Advertise||8/1||Martyn Meade||Frankie Dettori|
|2018||Eqtidaar||12/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Jim Crowley|
|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|
About the Commonwealth Cup
A shake up of sprint events across Europe triggered the introduction of the Commonwealth Cup in 2015. Replacing the discontinued Buckingham Palace Stakes (which returned in 2020) 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 Fillies: 2015 to 2020
|2020||Kimari||2nd of 16||Wesley Ward||Frankie Dettori||5/1|
|Millisle||5th of 16||Jessica Harrington||Tom Marquand||8/1|
|Shadn||10th of 16||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy||33/1|
|Les Hogues||13th of 16||George Baker||Shane Kelly||150/1|
|2019||Forever In Dreams||2nd of 9||Aidan Fogarty||Oisin Murphy||20/1|
|Royal Intervention||5th of 9||Ed Walker||Gerald Mosse||50/1|
|2018||Heartache||7th of 22||Clive Cox||Adam Kirby||28/1|
|Actress||17th of 22||Aidan O’Brien||Seamie Heffernan||40/1|
|Main Desire||19th of 22||Michael Bell||Daniel Tudhope||20/1|
|Now You’re Talking||21st of 22||Joseph Patrick O’Brien||Jamie Spencer||50/1|
|2017||No fillies raced|
|2016||Quiet Reflection||1st of 10||Karl Burke||Dougie Costello||7/4|
|La Rioja||4th of 10||Henry Candy||Oisin Murphy||11/1|
|Illuminate||5th of 10||Richard Hannon||Pat Dobbs||14/1|
|2015||Anthem Alexander||3rd of 18||Edward Lynam||Pat Smullen||8/1|
|Tendu||9th of 18||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori||14/1|
|New Providence||13th of 18||Hugo Palmer||Jim Crowley||25/1|
|Tiggy Wiggy||16th of 18||Richard Hannon||Richard Hughes||6/1|
|Pastoral Girl||17th of 18||James Given||Tom Eaves||100/1|
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.
Goodbye and Welcome Back to the 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 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 in place of those races now.
That said, the Buckingham Palace Stakes has made a return in an expanded Royal Ascot in 2020. It was run as the very first race of the meeting and remains to be seen if it stays as a permanent fixture.
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.
Due to Royal Ascot taking placed behind closed doors in 2020, the prize fund was halved to a still substantial £250,000. We expect it to return to the previous mark in 2021 however.