Saturday’s feature race at Royal Ascot is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs for older horses, and the 2018 renewal is brilliantly international with runners from Britain, Ireland, France, America and Australia.
Group One sprints are hard to dissect at the best of times, so the international flavour makes this one a particularly tough punting hazard – but an enjoyable one at that.
Let’s start with last year’s winner The Tin Man who has been a little disregarded by the market at around 10/1.
His claims are obvious as he’s a two-time Group One winner over this course and distance, and last year’s success in this race was on the same fast ground.
He’s got a good draw, too, as the middle of the track is a good place to be this week.
Interestingly, none of the remaining runners contested last season’s renewal except Librisa Breeze, who reversed the form later last year on much softer going on Champions Day.
I’m not sure there’s much at all between these two on their best form, but Librisa Breeze was a long way from that when trailing home ninth on his reappearance this season, so I expect The Tin Man to win that match.
July Cup and Sprint Cup winner Harry Angel is top rated and has solid claims of being the best of the home team; I don’t disagree but he is beatable as the form book says.
There are two Aussie raiders but with a twist: Redkirk Warrior started his career in Newmarket and won over a mile-and-a-quarter at Ascot, while Merchant Navy is now trained by Aidan O’Brien.
I can’t have Merchant Navy at the prices as he has a big challenge of overcoming a complexity in his lack of a weight-for-age allowance, even though in Australian terms he is still a three-year-old.
That makes his task of reversing Australian form with Redkirk Warrior much harder, as he was beaten by that foe when receiving 12lbs earlier this year.
I’ve been very keen on REDKIRK WARRIOR in this race for months as Australian sprinting form usually translates very well on the international stage.
He’s got the perfect run style for Ascot as he doesn’t front run but has a killer turn of foot and stays very well, so I don’t expect him to make the mistake of so many previous international sprinting raiders and attempt to make all.
American raider Bound For Nowhere has been talked up by his trainer and owner Wesley Ward, but there’s a slight sense of wishful thinking detected.
Ward is always bullish about his horse’s chances and is very keen on this one after he ran away with a soft ground Group Two in Keeneland – but I’d be much more inclined to agree had that been on a fast surface.
It’s hard to see how he will reverse form with Harry Angel from last year’s Commonwealth Cup, so he’s passed despite being a nice price.
I don’t really fancy anything else so Redkirk Warrior is the bet – though if The Tin Man were to drift out to double-digit odds I will certainly be backing him too.
1.5pts win Redkirk Warrior @5/1, 16:20 Royal Ascot, SaturdayLeave a comment