Will Tabdeed make history or can King's Lynn put string of bad luck behind him?
Saturday: 3.00 Newbury
bet365 Hackwood Stakes (Group 3) | 6f | 3yo+ | ITV/RTV
As is the case at most big meetings, there were any number of supposed unlucky losers that emerged from the five days at Royal Ascot last month. However, if you did a Family Fortunes-style survey and asked 100 people to name the unluckiest loser of the week, there's a good chance King's Lynn would be on the board. He might even get a ding-a-ling for the top answer.
That's because he ran in two races, the King's Stand on Tuesday and the Wokingham on Saturday, and on both occasions his riders – Oisin Murphy and Ryan Moore – returned to the stewards' room after the event and reported that King's Lynn had been denied a clear run.
The problem for King's Lynn is that he has become a perennial unlucky loser. He has won just two of his ten starts, but finished second on four other occasions and third twice more.
His Betfair in-running history is further evidence that he is becoming an expensive failure. In five of his eight defeats he has been backed to at least 35 per cent shorter than his Betfair SP in running, and that includes losses after touching odds-on figures of 1.16, 1.27, 1.75 and 1.88.
This looks like another good opportunity for King's Lynn, but if he fails to deliver the big money for a third time there will no doubt be plenty of punters marking him with the big X.
Tabdeed has the opposite profile. He has won five of his eight starts on turf and that includes a victory in this race last year, when he recorded a career-best Racing Post Rating of 115.
That is 3lb higher than the median RPR of 112 achieved by all winners of Group 3 races in Britain and Ireland since the start of 2008, but he hasn't bettered 110 in two starts since.
However, that 110 came on his reappearance at Newcastle last month, when he finished fourth in the Chipchase Stakes, and he won this race on his second start last season. He improved 7lb from his seasonal return on that occasion, so similar progress would probably be enough.
Diligent Harry looks the best of the three-year-olds, but the Classic generation have struggled in recent years. Since the start of 2010, only two three-year-olds have won this race and 28 tried. That's just a seven per cent strike-rate and a £1 bet on each yielded a loss of £15.
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway
Tabdeed chases back-to-back wins
Tabdeed bids to be the first horse ever to win the Hackwood twice, in a race in which his owners Shadwell Estate have an excellent past record.
Among the roll of honour, Heeraat carried the famous blue and white silks to glory in 2013 and went close to making history himself when runner-up the following year for William Haggas.
Since then, Yafta won it for Shadwell and Richard Hannon in 2018 and Tabdeed is back to extend the domination after his decent comeback run at Newcastle last month for trainer Owen Burrows.
The six-year-old is lightly raced for his age with his ten outings spread out over the past five seasons since scoring on his debut as a two-year-old in 2017.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Shadwell Estates, said: "It's well documented that Tabdeed has had a lot of problems but hopefully we can get a clear run with him now as I thought he ran very well on his comeback at Newcastle the other day.
"Owen has his team in great form as he showed when Hukum won last weekend and it would be nice if Tabdeed can win this race again."
What they say
Oisin Murphy, rider of King's Lynn
This looks a good spot for him to get his head back in front as he was unlucky when twice placed at Royal Ascot within the space of a few days. He's effective at five and six furlongs and he'll enjoy the ground.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Royal Crusade
He's been a little disappointing so far this year. We felt that stepping up to seven furlongs might suit in the Criterion Stakes but things didn't work out for him. He has been going well at home and would be a strong contender if he could rediscover his form of this time last year.
Clive Cox, trainer of Diligent Harry
This is his first run on turf but he has plenty of experience of it at home and if he can transfer his form from the all-weather he must be a big player. This will tell us where we are as regards the rest of the year and we're very much looking forward to it.
Richard Hannon, trainer of Happy Romance
It's a race we like and she shaped as if the return to this trip would suit her when she was third at Sandown the other day. Obviously she's now taking on the boys but she should take a hand.
Reporting by David Milnes
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