Hardwicke Stakes Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, 3.40 at Royal Ascot, 23rd June 2018
The first Group race on the fifth and final day at Royal Ascot is the Hardwicke Stakes. Read on for the best odds, offers, betting tips and more.
This 1m4f Group 2 contest, for horses aged four and older was first run at Ascot in 1879 and now offers £225,000 in total prize money.
Hardwicke Stakes 2018 Betting Tips
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Hardwicke Stakes Betting Offers
- CORAL – 33/1 CRYSTAL OCEAN TO WIN – 18+. New UK+IRE customers only. Certain deposit types and cash out excluded. Winning bets paid in cash at normal price. Enhanced odds paid in £5 free bets credited within 24 hours, valid for 4 days, stake not returned. Losing £5 free bet excludes Coral Connect customers. T&Cs Apply.
- RACEBETS – Money back if your selection finishes 2nd to the SP fav in any race during Royal Ascot – Place a bet on any of the Royal Ascot Festival’s races and get your stake back as bonus cash (max £/€25) if your selection comes in 2nd at RaceBets – Customers from UK, IE, UAE, IN and MU.Money back paid as bonus money Max £/€25 3 x wagering at 1.5+ before withdrawal. Win/win parts of each-way bets. Full terms apply. 18+, BeGambleAware.org.
- Free bets, enhanced odds and other offers for this race will be listed in due course. See our Royal Ascot betting offers listing.
Betting Tips and Predictions 2018
The Hardwicke Stakes plays a key role in the closing day of Royal Ascot. It’s a Group 2 contest for horses aged four and older and takes place over one mile, four furlongs. Each of the last 10 winners of the Hardwicke Stakes were aged four which strengthens the idea that this is primarily a race for horses who were in Derby contention last year.
It can also provide a platform for those who couldn’t quite find their best stuff at three to kick on and claim success in even bigger races. That goes someway to explain Sir Michael Stoute’s record of winning four of the last six renewals as he is one of the very best at all time when it comes to getting the best out of four-year-olds.
Crystal Ocean Worthy of the Support as Stoute Targets Yet More Hardwicke Success
Half of the four most recent Hardwicke Stakes winners for Sir Michael Stoute went off as the favourite. Stoute trains the favourite this time around in the shape of Crystal Ocean and it is going to be very difficult for any of the challengers stop the highest rated horse in the race.
Crystal Ocean had a good three-year-old season for Stoute which culminated in a second place finish in the St Leger. It’s still something of a mystery how he was unable to win at Doncaster but he has wasted no time as a four-year-old, winning both of his performances to date this season.
He wasn’t exactly at his best in his first start of 2018 over one mile, two furlongs and was much more comfortable once stepped up in trip to a mile and half. The best price you’ll get on Crystal Ocean is the 4/6 that 888Sport are quoting but he is very much the horse the others have to beat and should secure another win in this race for Sir Michael.
Defoe to Keep Making Strides Forward
Roger Varian had two entries for Defoe at the start of the week. He eventually decided that the Hardwicke represented a more viable opportunity than the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Defoe is primed to prove that was a very wise move.
After four straight wins, last season ended in disappointment for Defoe who beat only one other horse in the St Leger. 2018 has seen him race three times and he won both of those contests that came over one and a half miles. Varian was happy to make excuses for Defoe’s poor performance in the St Leger, claiming that he was not quite right when he got back to the stables, and he holds Defoe in high enough regard to target the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
He is yet to win at the very top level but Defoe has multiple wins at Group level and should be very much at home amongst the calibre of opponents he’s up against at Royal Ascot. Punters will learn a lot about Defoe from how close he is able to get to Crystal Ocean and he is certainly worthy of each way support at 10/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places.
- 2017 – Idaho – jockey Seamie Heffernan, trainer Aidan O’Brien
- 2016 – Dartmouth – jockey Olivier Peslier, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
- 2015 – Snow Sky – jockey Pat Smullen, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
- 2014 – Telescope – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
- 2013 – Thomas Chippendale – jockey Johnny Murtagh, trainer Lady Cecil
- 2012 – Sea Moon – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
- 2011 – Await the Dawn – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Aidan O’Brien
- 2010 – Harbinger – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
- 2009 – Bronze Cannon – jockey Jimmy Fortune, trainer John Gosden
- 2008 – Macarthur – jockey Johnny Murtagh, trainer Aidan O’Brien
- 2007 – Maraahel – jockey Richard Hills, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
- 2006 – Maraahel – jockey Richard Hills, trainer Sir Michael Stoute
The Hardwicke of this races title refers to the 5th Earl of Hardwicke Charles Philip Yorke. Given some of the tales surrounding the Earl, his official title doesn’t seem to do him justice. The pleasure seeking Yorke certainly seems to have spent a lot of time living up to his nickname of “Champagne Charlie” and would have no doubt enjoyed a punt on the race named in his honour.
This may “only” be a Group 2 contest, but that hasn’t stopped a number of the winners here later proving up to the task at Group 1 level in the prestigious King George VII and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Aureole and Aggressor were amongst the earliest to achieve the double, with Doyen and Harbinger following suit in more recent times. Aureole certainly has a fruitful association with this race, as his son Aurelius won here in 1962, eight years after his father’s success.
With racehorses hitting the peak of their physical powers in their four year old campaign and often maintaining this level at five, we would expect to see the occasional multiple winner of this. Fruits Of Love and Maraahel are amongst the most recent to record two wins but we have to go way back to the 1880’s to find the only horse to win the race three times.
In terms of versatility Tristan must go down as one of the greatest ever racehorses. In a period of dominance between 1882 and 1884, he recorded three successive wins not just in this race, but also the Grand Prix de Deauville and Champion Stakes. The fact that the colt also recorded a win in the 6f July Cup and 2m4f Ascot Gold Cup in this period is a truly remarkable achievement. Not that Tristan seemed to enjoy any of it very much as he was almost as well known for his terrible temper as his exceptional exploits at the track.
Sir Michael Stoute has a well-deserved reputation as being just about the best trainer around when it comes to older horses. This contest certainly provides substance to that reputation as the Newmarket handler has a record setting 10 wins in the race, including a hat-trick of victories from 2014 to 2016.
The best record amongst the jockeys is shared by two legends of flat racing. Lester Piggott has no equal at the Royal Ascot overall, but is joined at the top of the pile for this contest by fellow great Pat Eddery.