Coventry Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Ascot, Tuesday 18th June 2019

When it comes to juvenile races, there are few race that are as informative or influential as those run at Royal Ascot. The best of the bunch comes early at the meeting in race two on the opening day. The likes of Mill Reef, Henrythenavigator and Dawn Approach all initially burst on to the scene in a contest which can often point the way to future excellence.

This will likely be as competitive a renewal as ever, and with only minimal form to go on it is never the easiest race to solve. The market does tend to be a pretty good guide though, with the race being won by the favourite or joint favourite six times in the past decade. That is a record which may well be improved further this year.

Top Tips

Arizona to win @ 7/2

Guildsman each way @ 8/1

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

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Race Info

Six furlongs is the trip in this Group 2 event for the two year olds. Set to be run on soft ground, this year the race offers £150,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 6f Group 2 £150,000 Max 28 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

It is once again that man Aidan O’Brien who boasts the best record amongst the trainers here, with eight wins in total, including with future 2000 Guineas winner Henrythenavigator in 2007.

The Master of Ballydoyle missed out on glory last year but was able to claim yet another top three finish. Since 2010 there’s only been one renewal in which the Irishman hasn’t seen one of his runners end up third or better.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Calyx 2/1 John Gosden Frankie Dettori
2017 Rajasinghe 11/1 Richard Spencer Stevie Donohoe
2016 Caravaggio 13/8 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2015 Buratino 6/1 Mark Johnston William Buick
2014 The Wow Signal 5/1 John Quinn Frankie Dettori

Analysis: Hard to keep your eyes off O’Brien

Such a consistent producer of elite two year olds, it’s little wonder why Aidan O’Brien is the Coventry Stakes’ leading trainer. Over the last five seasons on British soil the Irishman has posted a huge level stakes profit of £41.80 with his minimum age runners. It’s a shock that the bookies seem to underestimate his youth products but don’t let yourself make the same mistake.

Arizona fresh from superb win

Arizona (7/2) performed as expected during a solid debut early last month and had even more to offer on his Curragh return. Although the bay colt was the odds-on favourite for the test, the manner of his eight length victory was truly eye-catching. Ryan Moore could’ve won by even more too but it made little sense to exert the young horse, especially with such a big race around the corner. He’s certainly by far the strongest of all O’Brien entries in this race with the likes of Mount Fuji (16/1) and Royal Lytham (16/1) a long way down the pecking order.

Limited Threat offered

Bookies were offering 10/1 on Threat to win his debut last and he did just that, easily seeing off 2/5 favourite Electrical Storm. On the back of that showing he’s trading at 7/1 for a follow up win but it is best not to get carried away with his Newmarket showing. Not only did it come over five furlongs, rather than the Coventry Stakes’ six, but the three horses he beat that day are all yet to break their maidens. When also factoring in Richard Hannon’s poor record with two-year-olds (14% win rate) over the last five seasons, Threat is not a horse to focus on here.

Visinari debut shows promise

Also victorious on his Newmarket debut was Visinari (5/1) who led from start to finish, holding off Ottoman Court in style. The clocked time was a decent one and clearly Mark Johnston’s horse had more to offer than he been required to show in the six furlong test. Going from good to firm to potentially soft ground is something a lot of horses don’t respond to particularly well though. Few horses on the racecard have experience of muddy conditions but Guildsman is one of the exceptions after winning impressively at Goodwood on soft ground earlier this month.

Final Verdict: Arizona to win

Ground conditions may not be exactly what Arizona wants here but he has the engine to get the job done. The colt displayed bags of ability last time out and he’s rightly been placed as the Coventry Stakes favourite as a result. We’d advise not staking your full stake on O’Brien’s horse though as Guildsman’s fine soft ground win suggests he can be one of the standout performers this Tuesday.

About

Painting Showing the Master of the Royal Buckhounds
George Henry Laporte via Wikimedia Commons

Having cemented itself as a regular of Royal Ascot’s opening day, the Coventry Stake finds itself among some top class company. While not one of the highlight events of the day, it’s still a race that is very much held in high regard. Dating back to 1890, it gets its name from the 9th Earl of Coventry who was serving as the Master of the Buckhounds at the time. He would end up being the second to last person ever to hold the role, with the position abolished in 1901.

While not a contest that lasts for a long time, the two-year-old sprinters involved regularly provide a feast for the eyes as they battle it out over six furlongs. This has particularly been the case since the Coventry Stakes enjoyed promotion to Group 2 in 2004 as we’ve seen higher quality fields ever since.

First chance to shine

For most horses involved in this race, it’s the first high quality test of their career. Only two-year-old’s are allowed to compete and while fillies are eligible to join in, it’s usually a colt-only affair. The young runners that line-up for the six furlong contest have a real chance to put themselves on the radar here and many have gone on to claim further success soon after. Both Dawn Approach and War Command for instance won the lucrative Dewhurst Stakes months after winning this race.

Not all Coventry Stakes go on to win such high class events but most use it as a platform for a credible debut season. For all the potential formers winners have displayed though, there are a few who have simply been unable to push on. A Coventry Stakes win represented the peak point in the careers of 2017 champion Rajasinghe and 2015 winner Buratino. The pair endured a miserable season as three-year-olds, a stark reminder that things can change quickly in racing.

Coventry Stakes Winner's 3-Y-O Campaigns: 2009 to 2018

3-Y-O Year Horse Runs Wins Prize Money
2018 Rajasinghe 1 0 £0
2017 Caravaggio 6 3 £505k
2016 Buratino 5 0 £5k
2015 The Wow Signal 0 0 £0
2014 War Command 3 0 £20k
2013 Dawn Approach 6 2 £561k
2012 Power 3 1 £148k
2011 Strong Suit 6 3 £205k
2010 Canford Cliffs 5 3 £549k
2009 Art Connoisseur 6 1 £278k

Form so important

If there’s one thing to look out for during a Coventry Stakes renewal, it’s how all the contenders performed last time out. You very rarely see a horse claim this Group 2 title having failed to arrive at Royal Ascot on the back of a win. In most cases victories will have been a recent one but there have been those who’ve claimed glory here following a lengthier break of over a month.

O’Brien keen on Coventry

In 2016, Aidan O’Brien made it win number eight in this race as the well-backed Caravaggio powered past the winning post. His record could well be one that survives for some time too with no trainer producing an endless stream of quality two-year-olds quite as well as the Irishman.

Aidan O'Brien's Coventry Stakes Winners

Year Horse SP Jockey
2016 Caravaggio 13/8 f Ryan Moore
2013 War Command 20/1 Seamie Heffernan
2011 Power 4/1 f Ryan Moore
2007 Henrythenavigator 11/4 f Michael Kinane
2002 Statue Of Liberty 5/2 f Michael Kinane
2001 Landseer 20/1 Jamie Spencer
1999 Fasliyev 15/8 f Michael Kinane
1997 Harbour Master 16/1 Christy Roche

An even more imposing record set in this race comes courtesy of one of the all-time greats, Sir Gordon Richards. He rode the winner on nine occasions between 1932 and 1951, a truly remarkable feat.

A long but quiet past

For well over a century the Coventry Stakes has provided us with some fascinating contests and it remains exactly the same race it was in 1890. Run under the same name, at the same course and over the same distance, it’s an event that has stayed true to its roots. Occasionally it has been held elsewhere either due to war or renovation, but its true home has always been Ascot.

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