Joel Stakes preview: King Of Comedy can have the last laugh at Newmarket

Published on: September 25, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
Our 2019 Joel Stakes preview from Newamrket includes King Of Comedy (right)

Now dropped in grade and trip, King Of Comedy looks a worthy favourite to land the spoils in the Group 2 Joel Stakes over 1m at Newmarket on Friday (15:35).

This three-year-old hails from the red-hot yard John Gosden and has won three of his six starts, finishing runner-up on two occasions.

After landing a minor contest at Yarmouth on seasonal reappearance, the son of top class miler Kingman took the step up into Listed company in his stride when easily beating Roseman by 2 1/2 lengths in a mile contest at Sandown.

That impressive display earned him a crack at the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes over this trip at Royal Ascot, where he ran an absolute screamer to be beaten a neck by Circus Maximus.

King Of Comedy was arguably an unlucky loser as he got caught way out of his ground when the pace quickened, before flying home to be gaining hand over fist at the line.

The winner has since gone on to land another Group 1 at Longchamp, whilst the third home Too Darn Hot won both his next starts at the highest level.

That gives the form a very strong look in relation to this and King Of Comedy comes into the race on the back of a solid two-length fourth to Japan in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

The 1m 2f trip seemed to stretch him that day, so the drop back down to a mile is a big plus.

Taking everything into account, then, odds of 11/8 with Bethard look fully justified and King Of Comedy is taken to land this before stepping back up into Group 1 company.

Zaaki out to enhance Stoute’s Joel Stakes tally

Newmarket handler Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful trainer in Joel Stakes history having won it four times courtesy of Sabotage (1989), Rob Roy (2005), Confront (2009), and Mustashry (2018).

His sole representative this time around is Zaaki, who has taken his form to a new level this season and won three of his five starts.

After staying on strongly to beat Barney Roy by a neck in an eight-runner Listed contest on return to action at Ascot, this four-year-old followed-up in good style in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes on Derby day at Epsom when beating Oh This Is Us by a length.

Zaaki then lost little in defeat when a nose runner-up to the ill-fated Beat The Bank in a Group 2 at Ascot, where had some very smart types and subsequent winners in-behind.

It’s fair to say that the son of Leroidesanimaux was disappointing when only seventh of nine to Sir Dancealot in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, but he seemed ill at ease on the undulating track and has since resumed winning ways at York.

That came in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes over nine furlongs where he only had to be driven out to account for Bangkok by a neck.

This requires more, but Zaaki is clearly thriving and looks sure to give it his best shot. He can be backed at 9/2 with Betfair to follow-up under Ryan Moore.

Benbatl a player for the Boys in Blue

Benbatl, who carries the all blue colours of leading owners Godolphin, is the top-rated in the Joel Stakes line-up and commands the utmost respect now dropped in class.

This Saeed bin Suroor trained five-year-old has a fine strike rate of just under 36 per cent having won five of his 14 starts.

He enjoyed a fine time at Meydan last year when winning three times, with the last of those successes coming in the Group 1 Dubai Turf where he impressively beat Vivios by 3 1/4 lengths.

The son of Dubawi was then far from disgraced when 10th to Accidental Agent in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, or when occupying the same position behind Roaring Lion in the Juddmonte International at York.

Benbatl then found only Australian wonder mare Winx two lengths too good when last seen in action in a Group 1 at Moonee Valley back in October.

Those efforts make him a big player in this on the pick of his form, but Benbatl does have a lengthy absence of 335 days to overcome.

That has to be a negative, as does the fact that he is yet to even hit the frame in three starts over the 1m 2f trip of this.

So, at best odds of 13/2 with William Hill, there are enough reasons to take on Benbatl on this occasion.

UAE Jewel can’t be discounted

UAE Jewel is unbeaten in two starts and falls firmly into the "could be anything category", so is another who can’t be ruled out in what is a cracking renewal of the Joel Stakes.

This Roger Varian trained three-year-old son of Dubawi was backed off the boards on debut here back in April when sent off the 10/11 favourite and bolting up by five lengths in a 12-runner maiden.

It was a visually stunning performance in a race which has thrown-up plenty of subsequent winners, and one which suggested UAE Jewel needed keeping firmly onside.

That view was confirmed when he followed-up in a Listed contest over this course and distance, where he only had to be nudged out to cheekily beat Walkinthesand by three-quarters of a length.

The runner-up has since won a hot handicap and finished third in a decent conditions contest.

As the front two pulled three lengths clear of the third home Persian Moon, who was beaten just a short-head in the valuable Lavazza Stakes at Ascot when last seen in action, that fives the form a solid look.

Although this demands much more, there is no questioning that UAE Jewel is an exciting prospect.

He is 8/1 with BetVictor to complete the hat-trick and it would be folly to underestimate his chances, given he has bags of untapped potential.