With just a few days to go now until one of the most prestigious meetings on the horse racing calendar comes to Berkshire, all eyes are on the big names to claim some of the event’s most valuable prizes.
The world-renowned Prince of Wales’s Stake is set to take place at Royal Ascot this year on Wednesday 17th June, and the one big name that’s on everybody’s lips is California Chrome. The four-year-old has been given odds of 10/1 by bookmakers Coral, but while he is not favourite, many experts are seeing him as a reliable outside bet.
So what is the secret behind the Chestnut Colt’s potential success? According to his part-owner Steve Coburn, it’s a case of heritage. Jockey William Buick is set to ride him on Wednesday, and Coburn has claimed the American roots could be a key to his victory. He said: “Well, Buick is an American-made car, and California Chrome is an American made-horse, so hopefully things will work out.”
Certainly, Buick has had sufficient time to get adjusted to California Chrome in preparation for the race, which will feature 11 runners in total. The 26-year-old was seen riding Chrome at Newmarket Heath recently, giving him the essential riding experience he needs to ride in pole position next week.
He should be optimistic for the forthcoming race, particularly given Chrome’s previous performance. Trained by 78-year-old track rider Art Sherman, Chrome’s goal was to take home the Triple Crown. While this is something that he has not yet achieved, he has previously won other prestigious events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Today, he has a loyal fan base, who are affectionately deemed “Chromies.” Rumour has it, the four-year-old even has a royal following – Coburn says: “I understand the Queen’s a Chromie.” This should be perfectly fitting, then, for an outing to Royal Ascot – but can our Chromie face the pressure from his competitors?
The favourite for this year’s Prince of Wales’s Stake is Free Eagle, who currently boasts odds of 3/1. While the four-year-old Bay Colt has a 50 per cent success rate, experts are claiming that it is California Chrome’s spirit which will see him beating the bookmakers next Wednesday.
Coburn concluded: “He’ll give every ounce of his heart, he always does. It’s the experience of a lifetime; without that horse I wouldn’t be here.”