ThoroughBred Racing

Coolangatta and Cannonball fly the flag for Australia on Day 1 of Royal Ascot

Coolangatta and Cannonball fly the flag for Australia on Day 1 of Royal Ascot

Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes Preview 2023

Coolangatta and Cannonball fly the flag for Australia on Day 1 of Royal Ascot.



The Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) has been a happy hunting ground for Australians, with Nature StripScenic BlastMiss AndrettiTakeover Target and Choisir all winning the race.

This year we have Coolangatta and Cannonball lining up, with the filly easily the more fancied of the two, holding second favouritism behind Highfield Princess.

To compare this year’s duo against our five winners of the race, noting that only Nature Strip and Scenic Blast won the race after it was upgraded to a Group 1, Coolangatta and especially Cannonball look a fair bit below their recent counterparts.

YearHorsePeak Aus RatingKing’s Stand Rating
2022Nature Strip130131
2009Scenic Blast127128
2007Miss Andretti126127
2006Takeover Target125126

Interestingly, 4/5 of our winners rated one pound better than their previous peak run except Choisir, who would run 126 in all three of his UK efforts.

Coolangatta comes over as a last start winner of the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington, a race that Nature Strip, Scenic Blast, Miss Andretti, Takeover Target and Choisir all won, and all but Nature Strip won in the same year as their King’s Stand victory.

She ran to 118 there which was a new peak, but a fair way off her admittedly older, more experienced benchmarks, but will need to run a clear new peak to be winning on Tuesday night.

Cannonball is a nice horse but is rated 112 off his past two starts, winning a Group 3 over Athelric and then placing in the Group 1 Galaxy Stakes (1100m) with just 50kg. With 60.5kg under weight-for-age conditions, being a southern hemisphere three-year-old (effectively 4), he’d need to produce something we haven’t come near to seeing from him.

Racing And Sports make Highfield Princess quite comfortably the highest rated horse in the field. The six-year-old mare is rated 125 at her peak, which came in the Group 1 Nunthorphe Stakes (1006m) at York in August last year.

Since then she’s run 122, 110 and 120, resuming with a 0.5 length second at Group 2 level with 62.5kg. While she’s been stretched to longer trips, Timeform make three of her best four ratings (125, 122, 120) at 1000m. Coolangatta will need to improve to match that and Highfield Princess deserves to be favourite, and a clear one at that.

I think you probably need Coolangatta to run a slight new peak and for Highfield Princess to have an off day, with the others in the field fairly well established and also needing clear new peaks. It’s not impossible, but I think Coolangatta is actually a bit short in betting and Highfield Princess should be sub $3.

Racing and Sports