The Hardwicke Stakes is a race open to horses aged four years or older. It is run over a distance of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 211 yards (2,406 metres). The event is named in honour of the 5th Earl of Hardwicke, who served as the Master of the Buckhounds in the 19th century. It was established in 1879, and it was originally open to horses aged three or older. The last three-year-old to win was Helioscope in 1949.
The Hardwicke Stakes is now held on the final day of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting. The leading horses often return to the venue to compete in the following month’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The first to win both races in the same year was Aureole in 1954, and the most recent was Harbinger in 2010. Let’s check out the runners taking part in the race and see which horses are providing the best Royal Ascot odds on the market.
Trainer: Marco Botti
Jockey: James McDonald
A former German-trained individual who now makes his British debut this afternoon. He has contested some decent races in his relatively short career but is still without a win after seven starts. This looks like a tough race for him to try and break that duck and he looks best observed here.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Is a relatively consistent sort who won the King Edward VII stakes at this meeting last year. He perhaps needed his first run of the year at Chester and no surprise to see him put in an altogether better performance today. Live each way claims once more.
Trainer: James Ferguson
Jockey: Daniel Muscutt
Can go well fresh as proven last season. He continued to improve throughout the season accumulating in a win in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York. If returning here in the same form, he looks destined to go well once more and he remains far from exposed. He could spring a surprise if his main market rivals fail to fire.
Trainer: Charlie Fellowes
Jockey: Will Buick
Won the Dubai Duty Free with the minimum of fuss upon his seasonal return at Newbury. He can kick on from that and improve once more but he really does need to. He has over a stone to find with Hukum on official ratings and he may just find this company a little too hot.
Trainer: Owen Burrowes
Jockey: Jim Crowley
Has won five of his last six starts and is an absolute model of consistency. He stays this trip well and can confirm form with Pyledriver, whom he beat in the Coronation Cup last season. He can take another step forward from his seasonal reappearance in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown racecourse and make a firm impact here.
Trainer: Willie Muir & Chris Grassick
Jockey: PJ McDonald
Has a little over four-lengths to find with Hukum based on their clash in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last season. He did improve for that run though and saw off Torquator Tasso in the King George over this course and distance last season. If fully fit at the first time of asking he is expected to produce another solid run but may just find one too good.
West Wind Blows
Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford
Jockey: Jamie Spencer
Needs to take another step forward by all accounts as the best performance he has produced was in listed company. He was beaten well over six lengths in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket last time and that form just doesn’t look good enough. Others are preferred.
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Is as yet untested over this course and distance which may well work in the favour of his rivals who have at least got the experience. He was last seen giving a beating to Rogue Millennium in the Group 2 Dubai Middleton Stakes at York and that form was given a massive boost when the runner-up landed the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes here just the other day. On official ratings, he has nine pounds to find with Hukum, but he could well narrow that gap here if taking to the track.
Hardwicke Stakes Betting Tips
Hukum looks sure to put his best foot forward here as he continues to improve at a rate of knots. He has won five of his last six starts and is developing into a classy middle-distance performer. Pyledriver is rated a couple of pounds higher in the ratings, but he could well struggle following nearly a year away from the track. Free Wind looks to be the biggest danger if taking to the track and Changingoftheguard cannot be forgotten about given his good display at this meeting last year.
1. Hukum @ 7/4 with Bet365 bonus code
2. Free Wind @ 11/4 with Bet365
3. Changingoftheguard @ 10/1 e/w with Paddy Power promo code
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.