Horse racing tips: Hardwicke Stakes predictions, preview and best bets

The Hardwicke Stakes, which is set to take place on Saturday 22nd June at 3:05 pm at Royal Ascot, is set to be a thrilling race, featuring some of the best middle-distance horses. The race is known for its prestigious history and has seen many notable winners over the years.

This year’s edition promises to be exceptionally competitive with a line-up of talented colts and geldings, each bringing unique strengths to the field. As we delve into the contenders, we’ll explore their previous performances, strengths, and potential weaknesses to forecast who might emerge victorious.

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The Hardwicke Stakes Preview, Predictions And Best Bets

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Horse Racing Tips 36

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Hardwicke Stakes Best Bets

Continuous: The Favourite

Continuous, last year’s St Leger winner, stands out with an impressive resume. His victories in the St Leger and the Great Voltigeur exemplify his remarkable stamina and class. He concluded last season with a strong fifth-place finish in the Arc de Triomphe, one of Europe’s most prestigious races. Trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore have already had a successful week, and Continuous, returning fresh, is expected to put in a dominant performance.

Strengths:

  • Proven stamina and class, especially over long distances.
  • Strong performances in high-calibre races, including a solid run in the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by the experienced Ryan Moore.

Weaknesses:

  • Making a seasonal debut, so there might be questions about race fitness.

Middle Earth: The Promising Challenger

Middle Earth, trained by John and Thady Gosden, has shown significant promise, particularly with a stylish win at Newbury. Sired by Roaring Lion, he possesses a high cruising speed and a competitive edge that could see him challenge the favourite. Jockey Oisin Murphy, who has a successful history with Roaring Lion, will aim to capitalise on this talented colt’s capabilities.

Strengths:

  • Impressive reappearance win, demonstrating class and speed.
  • High cruising speed suitable for Ascot’s course.
  • Trained by the formidable Gosden team and ridden by Oisin Murphy.

Weaknesses:

  • Relatively inexperienced compared to some rivals, which might affect performance under pressure.

Desert Hero: The Underdog

Desert Hero, who won the King George V Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot, is another horse to watch. His ability to navigate through tight spots and finish strongly was showcased in his victory. Although he has had mixed results since, his third-place finish in the St Leger behind Continuous highlights his potential.

Strengths:

  • Strong finisher, capable of making up ground quickly.
  • Experience at Ascot, having won here previously.
  • Trained by William Haggas and ridden by Tom Marquand.

Weaknesses:

  • Inconsistent recent form, with some disappointing runs that raise questions about his reliability.

Analysis of Other Contenders

Candleford

Candleford has shown commendable form in listed and Group 3 races, making him a potential dark horse. His recent win at the Curragh indicates good form coming into this race, but he faces a significant step up in class.

Strengths:

  • Good form in recent races, including a win at the Curragh.
  • Experience in various conditions, adaptable.

Weaknesses:

  • Stepping up in class significantly, which may expose his limitations.

Isle of Jura

Isle of Jura has demonstrated impressive consistency, winning several of his last starts. However, most of his success has come in lower-grade races, and he will need to improve to compete at this level.

Strengths:

  • Consistent performer with a winning streak.
  • Proven ability to win in different conditions.

Weaknesses:

  • Yet to prove himself at this higher level of competition.
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Missed The Cut

Missed The Cut has had a successful stint in the United States and now returns to the UK. Her experience in varied conditions and consistent performances make her an interesting contender.

Strengths:

  • Proven ability to compete in international races.
  • Consistent form, with notable performances in the US.

Weaknesses:

  • Adjusting back to UK racing conditions might pose a challenge.

Assessing the Outsiders

Elegant Man

Elegant Man, though relatively untested on turf, has shown promise on synthetic surfaces. His recent fourth-place finish in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup indicates potential, but he will need to adapt quickly to the turf at Ascot.

Strengths:

  • Rapid progression on synthetic surfaces.
  • Competitive recent performance in high-class races.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited experience on turf, which could be a disadvantage.

Goliath

Goliath has been a consistent performer in France, with several wins at Group 3 and Listed levels. However, the fast ground at Ascot is an unknown factor for him, and he will need to adapt to make an impact.

Strengths:

  • Consistent performer in French races.
  • Proven ability to compete at Group 3 and Listed levels.

Weaknesses:

  • Unproven on fast ground, which could be a significant hurdle.

Crypto Force

Crypto Force has struggled to find his form since a long layoff but showed some promise with a third-place finish in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. He now faces a drop in class, which could work in his favour.

Strengths:

  • Third-place finish in a high-class race indicates potential.
  • Dropping in class, which might help improve his chances.

Weaknesses:

  • Inconsistent form since returning from a long break.

Prediction for The Hardwicke Stakes

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After thoroughly analysing the field of contenders, it becomes evident that Continuous stands out as the most likely winner of the Hardwicke Stakes. His exceptional track record in high-stakes races highlights his superiority and resilience. Under the skilled guidance of trainer Aidan O’Brien and the experienced jockey Ryan Moore, Continuous combines class, stamina, and strategic racing intelligence, making him a formidable opponent for any horse in this race.

Continuous’s history of impressive performances includes victories in the St Leger and the Great Voltigeur, races that demand both endurance and speed. These wins underline his ability to perform under pressure and adapt to varying race conditions. His fifth-place finish in the Arc de Triomphe, one of Europe’s most prestigious and challenging races, further solidifies his standing as a top-tier racehorse. In that race, he demonstrated a remarkable turn of foot and the ability to maintain a strong pace against some of the best horses in the world.

The partnership between Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore is another critical factor in Continuous’s favour. O’Brien’s training acumen is unmatched, with a history of preparing horses to peak at the right moment. Ryan Moore’s tactical expertise on the track ensures that Continuous will be expertly navigated through the race, maximising his chances of victory. Moore’s experience in high-pressure scenarios and his ability to make split-second decisions could be the difference in securing a win for Continuous.

Middle Earth, while a strong competitor, still has areas where he needs to improve to match Continuous. His win at Newbury was impressive, showcasing his class and potential. However, compared to Continuous, Middle Earth lacks the same level of experience in top-tier races. His high cruising speed will undoubtedly be an asset, and with further development, he could challenge Continuous closely. Yet, the question remains whether he can sustain that speed against a horse with Continuous’s proven stamina and racecraft.

Desert Hero also presents a credible threat, particularly with his finishing ability. His performance in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot last year demonstrated his knack for navigating through tight spots and making up ground quickly. However, his inconsistency in recent runs casts a shadow over his prospects. While his third-place finish in the St Leger behind Continuous was commendable, his subsequent performances have been mixed. If Desert Hero can recapture his best form, he might contest for a place, but maintaining that level against a horse like Continuous is a daunting task.

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Herrin Kendrick
Herrin Kendrick is a sports journalist with 10 years of experience in the sports betting industry. His work has been referenced by many sports publications over the years. Sport passionate.