The Norfolk Stakes is a Group 2 race open to two-year-old horses. It is run over a distance of 5 furlongs. The event was established in 1843, and it was originally called the New Stakes. The inaugural running was won by Rattan.
The race was renamed the Norfolk Stakes in 1973. It now honours the 16th Duke of Norfolk, who served as HM’s Representative at Ascot from 1945 to 1972. For a period, the event held Group 3 status, and it was promoted to Group 2 level in 2006.
Let’s go through the runners ahead of the race and see which horses offer the best Royal Ascot odds on the market.
Trainer: Wesley Ward
Jockey: Joel Rosario
American Rascal ran out an eight-length winner on debut at Keeneland back in April and his trainer clearly has held him back for a shot at this. The yard has won this race twice in the last decade with the likes of Shang Shang Shang and No Nay Never. Given that formidable record and the fact that Joel Rosario keeps the ride here, the pair have to command respect in this field.
Trainer: Richard Hannon
Jockey: Pat Dobbs
Nine of the last ten winners of this race had won a race on their previous start, so that is a massive negative for this Richard Hannon runner. Whilst he is entitled to improve for that debut run, this is also a massive hike in class. This looks beyond him at this stage of his career on that basis.
Trainer: Donnacha O’Brien
Jockey: Gavin Ryan
Devious was well fancied on debut at Naas and justified favouritism when beating Mr Saturday by two lengths. The horses that were placed behind him have come out and run well again since and the sixth-placed Travel Candy won a claimer at Beverley before moving to the yard of Brian Ellison. He may need to improve again.
Trainer: Karl Burke
Jockey: Clifford Lee
Elite Status has done all that has been asked of him in an impressive fashion so far. Recent wins came at Sandown and Doncaster but the form of his first race has proven to be disappointing with no horse coming out to frank the form. At current prices, he just looks too short based on what we know.
Trainer: Alice Haynes
Jockey: Tom Marquand
Is entered in the Windsor Castle Stakes prior to coming here. He would be unlikely to take his chance should he engage in his alternative option. He is two from two at this trip and has done nothing wrong. This is a major leap in grade though and he would have to run the race of his life to get involved. It is not impossible that he could improve further and the ground will certainly suit. He is only this price as he hails from an unfashionable yard and he could well surprise a few.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Was good enough to win over five furlongs on what was quite soft ground at the Curragh at the beginning of last month. Raised in grade next time into the Group Three Marble Hill Stakes, he was only just touched off by both Givemethebeatboys and the re-opposing Noche Magica. The form was given a little boost yesterday with his conqueror finishing fourth in the Coventry Stakes. May have to settle for minor honours yet again.
Trainer: Richard Fahey
Jockey: Oisin Orr
Richard Fahey has an excellent recent record in this and has taken the last two renewals with 14/1 and 50/1 shots. He clearly targets this race with his smart juveniles and he clearly feels that Malc is the best of what he has this year. The form has not really worked out from his debut which is disappointing but not the biggest of shocks were he to make the frame here.
Mon Na Slieve
Trainer: Kevin Ryan
Jockey: Tom Eaves
Was smart enough to win over the minimum trip in a novices race at York just last month. The form of the race is beginning to work out with Brave Empire coming out to win subsequently at Windsor and several others running well next time out. Kevin Ryan has his yard in good order and landed the Queen Anne Stakes here on the opening day with a big-priced outsider. There could well be more to come and place claims here despite a rise in grade.
Trainer: Paddy Twomey
Jockey: Billy Lee
Noche Magica found only Givemethebeatboys a short head too strong at The Curragh in the Marble Hill Stakes at The Curragh last time. A return to five furlongs looks sure to suit and should his old rival run well in the Coventry, then that hints at better chances for the Paddy Twomey representative here.
No Nay Mets
Trainer: George Weaver
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
No Nay Mets bids to emulate his sire by taking this prize. Good enough to win on his sole start at Gulfstream Park, the form was given a boost by Northshore Drive who won next time out. An intriguing contender who will be well suited by lightning-quick ground.
Trainer: Archie Watson
Jockey: Hollie Doyle
Reveiller was good enough to win on debut at Salisbury last month. The form of that race has been boosted by a subsequent win for Call Glory who went on to win at Goodwood next time out. Archie Watson is no stranger to Royal Ascot success and Hollie Doyle takes over in the saddle and she has already won the Kings’ Stand Stakes for this yard already this week. Foolish to dismiss given the trainer often targets his best horses at this meeting.
Trainer: Alice Haynes
Jockey: Kieran O’Neill
Won on debut for Alice Hayes but has been thoroughly exposed since. Was beaten seven-and-a-half lengths in a listed race last time by the re-opposing Elite Status, so will do well to finish any closer to his old rival. Others are far more unexposed and are preferred.
Trainer: Francis-Henri Graffard
Jockey: Mickael Barzalona
He has only ever raced in his native France but bounced back to form to land a listed race at Chantilly a little over a fortnight ago. He is fast and even managed to win a race over four-and-a-half-furlongs at Saint-Cloud back in April. His sire No Nay Never won this back in 2013 so it would be quite an achievement if he could do likewise.
Trainer: Dominic Ffrench-Davis
Jockey: Kevin Stott
Showed improved form from first to second start as he managed to win a novice race at Goodwood racecourse around ten days ago. This is a big step up in class though and the yard is not renowned for producing big race winners. On the plus side, Kevin Stott has a near 36% strike rate when riding for this yard and he has built up a good relationship with Thunder Blue. Likely to run well without troubling the judge.
Trainer: Brian Meehan
Jockey: Sean Levey
Was placed behind Mayo Neighs on debut at Bath before going on to win at the same track next time out justifying favouritism. He took the step up in grade in his stride last time and not impossible to think more improvement can be found. The yard won this in 2009 with Radiohead so they know exactly what kind of horse that they need. Likely to run well for a long way.
Trainer: Adrian Murray
Jockey: Rossa Ryan
Was second last in a Group Three at the Curragh last time and has work to do to reverse form with the likes of His Majesty and Noche Magica. Hard to see him breaking his maiden in this race.
Norfolk Stakes Betting Tips
This could well be a finish that is fought out by the American challengers. Wesley Ward has more experience of winning this race than most and American Rascal could not have been any more impressive when winning on his only start at Keeneland back in April.
No Nay Mets bids to follow in the footsteps of his sire No Nay Never by taking this very race. The form of that race has begun to work out and he too is respected. Elite Status has been impressive on his only two starts but the fact that the form has not been boosted since is a little disappointing.
Richard Fahey has also taken the last two renewals of this race so the fact that he runs Malc here is immediately noteworthy. Likely to build on his sole win so he too can run a big race at rewarding odds.
1. American Rascal @ 4/1 with William Hill promo code
2. No Nay Mets @ 9/1 with Bet365 bonus code
3. Malc e/w @ 28/1 with William Hill
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.