Hardwicke Stakes Tips: Mostahdaf the value play against Hurricane Lane

John Gosden bids for a third win in the Hardwicke Stakes
John Gosden bids for a third win in the Hardwicke Stakes

One of the highlights on the final day of Royal Ascot is the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, and our man Steve Chambers previews the 1m 3f 211y contest which will see the return of St Leger hero Hurricane Lane...

Charlie Appleby's Hurricane Lane was one of the star three-year-olds last season, as having won the Dante Stakes the Godolphin raider then went on to finish third in the Derby at Epsom before tasting victory in the Irish Derby and Prix du Paris. More Classic success came in the St Leger at Doncaster, while he ended his campaign with a fine third placed finish in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Now, set for his hotly-anticipated return, the son of Frankel will be a red-hot 4/5 favourite for the Hardwicke Stakes, as he looks to kick off his campaign on a winning note, and if he can return in the same form then he has to be the one they all have to beat. Not only has he shown that stamina is his forte, he has shown a fine turn of pace over one-mile-and-a-half, so if he can show that again here then he's going to be extremely hard to beat.

Some could argue that an odds-on shot on his comeback run against race-fit rivals makes limited appeal, and it could be worth taking him on here, but he's rightfully favourite for the event, and is without doubt the best horse lining up, however, there could be more attractive value elsewhere.

Aidan O'Brien last trained the winner back in 2017 with Idaho, but he will fancy landing the prize once again with Broome, who is currently the 11/2 second favourite with the bookmakers. Fourth in the 2019 Derby at Epsom, the Ballydoyle six-year-old has been a consistent performer at the highest level for a few years now and was a gallant second in this race 12 months ago behind Wonderful Tonight. He warmed up for this event with a fifth placed finish in a red-hot renewal of the Tattersalls Gold Cup, which was a deeper race than this Group 2, so he should be able to perform to a high level, but as is usually the case he is likely to find one too good on the day.

Sir Michael Stoute has an absolutely stunning record in this race having won the event on 11 occasions and he teams up with Richard Kingscote again for this year's renewal and the Derby-winning duo will unleash Solid Stone, who's an 8/1 chance at the moment. A dual Group 3 winner at the end of last season, the Freemason Lodge inmate was last seen bounding to victory in the Huxley Stakes at Chester, but this will be a much tougher assignment for him here and he's going to struggle.

With eight declared then three places are on offer for each-way players and one that could make the frame is the John & Thady Gosden-trained MOSTAHDAF, who is very eye-catching at 10/1, if he can produce his best form here. The son of Frankel has won six of his eight career starts to date - which include wins in the Darley Stakes and in the Gordon Richards Stakes at the start of this season. He failed to kick on from that effort when second behind the top-class Bay Bridge in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown last time out, but with that raider run a decent race in Group 1 company earlier in the week at Royal Ascot then Mostahdaf could figure in this Group 2 event. He steps up in trip here, which could be a slight concern, but if he can take to the extra couple of furlongs then he could well be a thorn in the side of the jolly.

Roger Varian's Third Realm beat subsequent Derby hero Adayar in the early part of his career, but he's struggled to kick on from that, but showed his best last time out when winning a Listed Goodwood event. He will need to significantly build on that effort to figure here and can be ignored, as can Layfayette, who has racked up three wins on the spin in Pattern company, but the 20/1 shot hasn't faced anything like this opposition, and will need to find plenty to play a starring role.

Living Legend and Away He Goes complete the octet lining up and they are both 33/1 outsiders to strike here, and both seem to be up against in a race that should go the way of Hurricane Lane, but if he fluffs his lines then Mostahdaf can make the most of it.

Hardwicke Stakes
Mostahdaf silk

Mostahdaf (EW)

Royal Ascot Tips
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