Medicean the Man
Andy Charles' horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
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Trainer: Roger Varian. Jockey: Paul Hanagan
Dropped to a sprint trip for the first time since his juvenile days when a strong-finishing third in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in April. That form leaves him a little bit to find but this isn’t the best Group 1 sprint you will ever see and he is sure to be coming on strong late. Rating: 9/10.
Trainer: Eric Libaud. Jockey: Pierre-Charles Boudot
French raider with some decent form on home soil but nothing like the sort of numbers you would usually expect to need to win this race. Likely to be better suited by an extra furlong and probably softer ground as well. Rating: 3/10.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Joseph O’Brien
Former American runner who hated the soft ground (almost bottomless) on his seasonal debut at The Curragh last month when he came home tailed off last. He is another contender dropping to sprint trips after racing over a mile and has plenty to prove. Connections are definitely to be feared but this one has just too many question marks. Rating: 4/10.
ES QUE LOVE
Trainer: Clive Cox. Jockey: Adam Kirby
Could only finish ninth in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday and although the extra furlong of this race will undoubtedly suit, he’s not in the kind of form needed to win outside of handicap company for the first time. Rating: 2/10.
GORDON LORD BYRON
Trainer: Tom Hogan. Jockey: William Buick
Hugely impressive winner of the Betfred Sprint Cup last season, when Slade Power was among his victims, but the likely quick ground will not help his chances and doubts whether his recent runs over longer trips might have blunted his speed a little. Rating: 6/10.
Trainer: Jim Goldie. Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
Grand old fella and lovely to see him lining up in this race again, but it’s very hard to see him bettering last season’s sixth on ground that will be plenty fast enough for him again. Has been regularly found out in much lesser company since that excellent effort last summer. Rating: 1/10.
Trainer: Jim Goldie. Jockey: Graham Lee
Ran okay to finish seventh in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday but the ground has become even quicker since then and that will count against him despite the six-furlong trip being a little more preferable. Rating: 2/10.
Trainer: Jeremy Gask. Jockey: Harry Bentley
Possibly the best run of his career on Tuesday when fourth in the King’s Stand, staying on strongly and looking like this extra furlong will bring out even more improvement. He’s getting on in years but seems to continue to defy age and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be in the argument again at a track which brings out the best in him. Definite each-way value as long as his troublesome feet are okay. Rating: 10/10.
Trainer: Richard Hannon. Jockey: Richard Hughes
Returned to sprinting last time out at Windsor, and was a definite eye-catcher under tender handling, but it is tough to see him winning over this trip for the first time in this grade. Rating: 3/10.
Trainer: Henry Candy. Jockey: Fergus Sweeney
Strong traveller who often looks like the best horse in his races but constantly finds little in the finish. Quick ground will help his chances but you fear he might just be found out in the final 100 yards. Possible for the place punters though. Rating: 6/10.
Trainer: Eddie Lynam. Jockey: Wayne Lordan
It was very difficult not to be impressed by his victory in the Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh last month when he barely came off the bridle to beat a very solid type in Maarek in scintillating fashion. But, like most of his best form, that win came on soft ground and it is a concern that he could do no better than seventh in this race last year in conditions that will be very similar to Saturday. Rating: 7/10.
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor. Jockey: Kieren Fallon
Yet another runner in this most confusing race that is dropping to sprint trips. The Godolphin runner has never been out over less than seven furlongs in his 12-race career but shaped like a sprinter last time out, travelling powerfully at Haydock before fading in the final furlong. An intriguing contender given his long price. Rating: 7/10.
Trainer: Dean Ivory. Jockey: Robert Winston
Excelled in top handicap company last season but his three runs this year are less than inspiring. A return to his very best form would see him in with a chance but it’s hard to imagine it happening in Group 1 company when he has been found out in lower grades. Rating: 3/10.
Trainer: Kevin Ryan. Jockey: Jamie Spencer
Impressive winner of last season’s Middle Park Stakes, form that would put him in with a superb chance here, but there are concerns he might be better off with a bit of cut in the ground. Three year olds have a mixed record in the race, but he looks to be one of the more solid contenders if the going is okay. Rating: 8/10.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Ryan Moore
Another former American runner now based at Ballydoyle and he goes into this race in good form, albeit at a much lower level. His Listed win at Naas last time suggested further improvement was possible but he will have to find it quickly here on much faster ground. Rating: 5/10.
This is a wide-open edition of one of the season’s best sprints, with no Australian interest for a change, although it could well be an Aussie trainer celebrating if MEDICEAN MAN can build on his run on Tuesday. The venerable eight-year-old absolutely loves Ascot and can take advantage of a race that is not quite as classy as the usual Diamond Jubilee to claim his biggest career win. Aljamaaheer is an intriguing contender over this shorter trip and could bomb home to get a place ahead of three-year-old runner Astaire.