Now in its third year, the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Handicap is run on the round course for older fillies and mares rated 0-105 and has proved a tricky test for punters. David Loughnane trained the first two home in the first-ever running of this race and both horses got in at the foot of the handicap. In what proved to be a wide-open contest last year, the first two home returned at starting price of 40/1 whilst the third-placed horse was 22/1.
The draw may have been a factor last year with the first three all drawn between stalls 17 & 22. Here are my thoughts on all the runners including my three Royal Ascot tips for this prestigious second race on day two of the festival.
Trainer: Archie Watson
Jockey: Hollie Doyle
A five-year-old grey mare who was capable of winning a listed race on her reappearance at Goodwood last month. A step back into handicap company will suit her and her trainer is a dab hand at getting horses ready for this meeting. She is the highest rated in the race hence joint top-weight and proven on a fast surface she has to command respect.
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: Declan McDonagh
Picked up a listed race on her most recent reappearance at Gowran Park beating Angels Wrath by a couple of lengths. The step up to an extended mile clearly helped and the yard has seemed to turn a corner with their runners of late and her claims are hard to ignore.
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Has cut no mustard since being upped in trip so has to be of note now dropping back to a mile. Won a fillies’ handicap over the course and distance last September. The reunification with Ryan Moore is quite interesting and the pair command respect now also dropping in grade. Dangerous to dismiss.
Trainer: Roger Varian
Jockey: Jim Crowley
Has been below par this season and was beaten twenty-two lengths on her seasonal debut at Nottingham last month. She was a good fourth in the Ribblesdale at the meeting last season, but she needs to find another gear to get involved today.
Trainer: Jessie Harrington
Jockey: Colin Keane
Has ultimately proved to be disappointing in her last two races at Leopardstown and Naas where she was tried in listed and Group Three company. She will appreciate this drop in class on what is her handicap debut but needs to improve.
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: James McDonald
Was good enough to win on debut on debut at Leopardstown before following up on handicap debut at Dundalk. Made her seasonal return at Naas and was only beaten four lengths when upped into listed company last time. Fully entitled to come on for that run and with the yard in better form now, she has to be respected.
Trainer: Kevin Phillipart De Foy
Jockey: Daniel Muscutt
Without a win since making a successful debut at Newmarket when trained by Charlie Appleby. She has moved yards twice since and today makes her debut for Kevin Phillipart De Foy. Was well beaten in the Sandringham here a couple of seasons ago and really needs to produce a career best to get involved here.
Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford
Jockey: James Doyle
Trailed in almost a dozen lengths behind Major Partnership following a nearly six-month break at Nottingham last time. The run was clearly needed by her and the cobwebs should now be fully cleared. Prior to that, she had looked progressive on the all-weather winning three races in a row at distances of up to ten furlongs. Ideally would have liked to have seen more last time and this trip might be a bit on the short side now.
Trainer: Owen Burrows
Jockey: Will Buick
Not disgraced on her seasonal reappearance when beaten a length by Riot at Chelmsford last month. Won three times last season including at Haydock at this trip last summer. The form of that race has proved disappointing as none of the runners have come out to frank the form subsequently. She may well improve further and Will Buick knows her well. Place claims for sure.
Trainer: David O’Meara
Jockey: Danny Tudhope
Takes a dip in grade here having failed to sparkle in her recent seasonal debut. She was beaten over a dozen lengths over an inadequate seven furlongs at Lingfield. Whilst she is entitled to improve for the run, it is hard to make a case for her here.
Trainer: Harry Eustace
Jockey: Pierre-Louis Jamin
She has maintained her form well over the past couple of seasons and has won three times in her relatively short career. She ran a good trial for this when chasing home Farhh Too Shy over the course and distance in a similar handicap last month. Pierre-Louis Jamin has won on her before and the pair could go well at a decent price.
Trainer: Ralph Beckett
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Back to winning ways last time out over a mile at Kempton beating Marksman Queen by a little under a length. That was her first win since joining Ralph Beckett from the yard of Charlie Hills. She certainly gets this trip well and has won four times at it including at tracks as varied as Chelmsford, Ripon and Beverley. Frankie Dettori keeps the ride having won on her last time and she could quite easily be involved in the shake-up.
Don’t Tell Claire
Trainer: Daniel & Claire Kubler
Jockey: Jack Mitchell
Has a little bit of work to do to reverse form with Belhaven based on their most recent clash over this course and distance but is now half a stone better off with that rival, so is weighted to give it a good go. The six-year-old hinted that she was on her way back to form in that last race and has solid each-way prospects.
Farhh Too Shy
Trainer: George Margarson
Jockey: Jamie Spencer
Her form ties in with a couple of these and she had the beating of Don’t Tell Claire and Belhaven over this course and distance last time. She is well used to handicap races and has been successful four times in similar races.
Trainer: Roger Varian
Jockey: David Egan
A four-year-old filly who hasn’t been seen since finishing down the pack in a fillies’ handicap at Newmarket races last autumn. This looks like a tough reintroduction for her on what will be her seasonal debut. She needs to have wintered well and be fully wound up in order to get anywhere near the best of these.
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
Jockey: Oisin Murphy
Improving at the right time but taking a notable step up in class. This yard tends to know what they are doing with their fillies though and it is of note that Oisin Murphy, who rode her to victory last time at Yarmouth is back on board and not hard to make a case for.
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: Mikey Sheehy
Gradually improving since joining his new yard from Martyn Meade. She made her seasonal reappearance at The Curragh and ran a fair race to get within a half-length of Rahmi. Whilst this will take another step forward, you cannot rule out further improvement from her and she has every right to be considered.
Trainer: Harry & Roger Charlton
Jockey: Trevor Whelan
Discretion returned to winning ways when winning a six-runner handicap at Yarmouth last time. That was her third win in her last five starts, so she fully deserves this rise in class. She is open to further progress and in a wide-open field, she could well find herself involved at the business end.
Trainer: George Margarson
Jockey: David Probert
Is a four-time winner at trips of up to seven furlongs. Showed very little on her seasonal reappearance at Leicester racecourse earlier in the month. This looks like an impossible task of what is a near career-high mark. She definitely has questions to answer.
Trainer: Sheena West
Jockey: Rose Dawes (5)
Has been out of form for quite some time having managed to win a handicap at Windsor on bottomless ground back in April. She has had far easier opportunities than this and has not taken advantage. Not hard to rule out.
Trainer: Michael Bell
Jockey: Saffie Osborne
Made her seasonal reappearance over this course and distance in the race that was won by the re-opposing Farhh Too Shy. Beaten only a little under two lengths, she is fully entitled to improve for that run. No surprise to see her reverse form on much better terms with the likes of Belhaven and Don’t Tell Claire. She is first reserve here but if she gets in, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if the market was to speak in her favour.
Trainer: George Boughey
Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
Has hinted at a return to form in her two most recent appearances and a return to this mile will be very much in her favour. It remains touch and go to see if she gets into the race as second reserve but even if she does, she still looks badly handicapped. Despite the booking of Andrea Atzeni, she is readily passed over.
Trainer: Andrew Kinirons
Jockey: Wayne Lordan
Returned to winning ways at Roscommon last time out and has also proven herself over this extra yardage in the past. Being third reserve means though she is highly unlikely to get a run here. The booking of Wayne Lordan is a massive plus as he rides this track particularly well.
Kensington Palace Fillies’ Handicap Betting Tips
The Irish form strikes me as the most stand-out piece of form coming into this race and it looks to be a race specifically targeted by Joseph O’Brien with a plethora of runners. There are a lot of rivalries being renewed here amongst the likes of Farhh Too Shy, Belhaven and Don’t Tell Claire for example.
The best of the British runners may turn out to be Lady Eros for team Gosden and Oisin Murphy who look likely to go well. I just prefer the chances of Adelaise e/w on this occasion and having run so well at the Curragh last time, she is entitled to plenty of respect.
Adelaise @ 8/1 e/w with Bet365
Yerwanthere @ 15/2 with Bet365
Lady Eros @ 10/1 with BetVictor
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.