The Group 1 Commonwealth Cup is the three-year-old sprint championship race of Royal Ascot. The race was introduced as recently as 2015 with three-year-olds no longer eligible to contest the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The inaugural running was won by the subsequent Champion Sprinter of Europe, Muhaarar. The 2021 renewal caused controversy with first-past-the-post Dragon Symbol demoted in favour of American-trained Campanelle.
The Commonwealth Cup is confined to three-year-olds over six furlongs and currently takes place on day 4 (Friday) of Royal Ascot. It was originally open to geldings but they were excluded after 2019. The race is usually kept in mind for horses that have plenty of speed but may not necessarily stay a mile for the Classic races.
Famous Commonwealth Cup Winners & History
Having only been introduced in 2015, the race is still in its infancy but has already produced some high class winners. None more so than inaugural winner Muhaarar, trained by Charles Hills and ridden by Dane O’Neill.
He was a smart juvenile, winning the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York and finishing third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. He won the seven-furlong Greenham Stakes on his first start as a three-year-old, prompting a tilt at the French Guineas over a mile. He did not stay at Longchamp but showed that sprinting was his game with a brilliant victory over Limato in this race. Muhaarar went on to win the July Cup, the Prix Maurice de Gheest and the British Champions Sprint before being retired to stud.
2016 winner Quiet Reflection also went on to prove herself a top notch sprinter, winning the Haydock Sprint Cup for Karl Burke on her favoured soft ground. The 2017 renewal lived up to its billing as one of the races of the week. Aidan O’Brien’s unbeaten Caravaggio beat the Godolphin-owned duo of Harry Angel and Blue Point by three-quarters of a length and half a length in a thrilling race.
Sir Michael Stoute won it for the first time with Eqtidaar in 2018 before Martyn Meade’s Advertise provided Frankie Dettori with the first of his two victories. Golden Horde struck for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby in 2020 before a dramatic 2021 renewal which is still debated. Dragon Symbol (Oisin Murphy) beat Campanelle by a head but had hung to his right and the interference was deemed sufficient to have cost his rival the race.
Key Commonwealth Cup Trials
It is too early to identify any definite patterns in terms of trials with winners coming from a variety of races. Muhaarar (French Guineas) and Advertise (2000 Guineas) had been trained to stay a mile but successfully dropped back to sprinting in the Commonwealth Cup. Quiet Reflection had taken a more obvious route by winning the Sandy Lane Stakes (six furlongs) at Haydock. Eqtidaar was beaten over course and distance in the Pavilion Stakes and finished fourth in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury.
Although Campanelle needed the help of the stewards to land this prize in 2021, she had been ear-marked for this race for quite some time. The clues were in her brilliant speed as a two-year-old, notably when winning the Queen Mary Stakes at the corresponding fixture in 2020. She then won the Group 1 Prix Morny and faded into fourth place over a mile at the Breeders’ Cup.
Commonwealth Cup Betting Trends
It is too early to identify clear betting trends and there have been a mixed bag of results. Quiet Reflection and Caravaggio both started well-backed favourites at 7-4 and 5-6 respectively. Golden Horde and Campanelle were both 5-1 third favourite and Advertise started an 8-1 shot. Campanelle’s generous odds were possibly because of the prevailing heavy ground, although she had won in the soft in France as a two-year-old. Muhaarar returned at 10-1 while Eqtidaar was a 12-1 chance.
Commonwealth Cup Odds
Here are the latest odds for the Commonwealth Cup in June 2022:
There is no open book of odds in the ante-post market for this event yet
Commonwealth Cup Tips
Here are some tips for Commonwealth Cup in June 2022:
2 points to win for TBC at odds of TBC
1 point each way for TBC at odds of TBC
Some of the participating horses in the Commonwealth Cup will run in other events throughout the year. Keep a close eye on the horses and see how they do then place your ante-post bets.
Commonwealth Cup Stats
The early statistics are similarly sketchy when it comes to pinpointing the Commonwealth Cup winner. The first seven winners had won at least once over six furlongs and had raced at least four times in total. That suggests this might be a tough task for an inexperienced horse. Six of the seven had won at least once in Group race company and a rating of 113 or higher seems to be the required standard. The only winner to fall below that figure was Eqtidaar who ran here with an official rating of 107.
Top Trainers and Jockeys
The first seven runnings have been won by seven different trainers while Frankie Dettori is the only jockey so far to win it twice. The winning trainers do include the powerful stables of Aidan O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute while Wesley Ward once again illustrated his penchant for Royal Ascot with Campanelle’s 2021 success.
Betting on the Commonwealth Cup
There is an ante-post betting market on the Commonwealth Cup, often featuring horses with Classic aspirations. The victories of Muhaarar and Advertise show that trainers can afford to have a tilt at the Classics and keep the Commonwealth Cup as a back-up plan. The best tip is to wait for clarification from trainers before risking your hard-earned cash on this race.
Interestingly, the first six winners all ran in the July Cup against their elders next time out. Muhaarar won in 2015 but the next five were all beaten, although all bar Eqtidaar ran with credit. Advertise finished second, Quiet Reflection and Golden Horde third and Caravaggio fourth. Four of the six won at least one more Group 1 race that season after the Commonwealth Cup.
The Commonwealth Cup is a recent addition to Royal Ascot and aims to establish the champion three-year-old sprinter. It is fascinating to see horses that failed to last a mile in Classic races reverting to sprint distances, clashing with the raw speed merchants who have taken a more obvious route to the race.