By Dave Stevos
This Saturday’s race of the day is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and this 6f Group 1 will be run on soft ground this season. Wesley Ward took the race last year with 14/1 shot Undrafted, but he loves quick ground and it will be far from those sort of conditions on Saturday. It is not a race that favourites have a good record in, with only 3 winning since 2006. A low draw seems to be a big advantage, with only 3 of the last 10 winners drawn higher than stall 4.
It looks a really open renewal this season and not many of the participants will be happy with the underfoot conditions. It is 4/1 the field and the Charlie Hills trained Magical Memory heads the market at 4/1 with Sportingbet. He hasn’t looked back since landing a fast ground handicap off 87 on his second run last year at Leicester (6f) and his rise has been meteoric since that win.
He has won 4 of his 5 races since, including a Group 3 at Newmarket (6f gd/sft) and a Group 2 at York (6f gd). His only defeat came in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock when he was beaten less than a length by Twilight Son. Those two renew acquaintances in the Diamond Jubilee and it could be a close run thing between the two of them again. However, proper soft ground is an unknown for both of those horses and it might pay to stick with one that is guaranteed to relish the conditions.
My idea of the value bet in this race is the Tim Easterby trained Mattmu, a 4yo son of Indesatchel who is at his best when there is give in the ground. He has won races at up to Group 2 level and all 5 of his wins have come over 6f. He won just one race last season, a 6f Group 3 at the Curragh (gd), and he did really well to hang on there from Toscanini given that the ground was plenty quick for him.
Although that was his only win last year he did run some cracking races in defeat, including an excellent third behind crack sprinter Mecca’s Angel at York in a 5f Group 1 (gd/sft). He wasn’t so good on his final run of last year in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, but that effort is best forgiven as it came at the end of a long and hard season.
He returned to action with a rock solid effort when less than a length behind Magical Memory in a Group 3 at Newmarket (6f gd/sft) back in April. It wasn’t so good last time out behind the same rival at York (6f gd), but the ground was a valid excuse as it was much too lively for him. I think he will relish the return to soft ground here and he has an excellent draw to attack from in stall 1. He proved at York last season that he can be competitive in this grade and, at odds of 20/1with Paddy Power, I think he is overpriced in a wide open Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: MATTMU E/W 20/1