Saturday 22nd June – 4:20pm – Royal Ascot – 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The event was established in 1868 and was originally called the All Aged Stakes. The race was renamed in 1926 in honour of the 9th Earl of Cork as the Cork and Orrery Stakes. In 1971 when the current grading system was introduced the race was give Group 3 status and was elevated to Group 2 level in 1998. The race was renamed in 2002 to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and given its current designation in 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen.
The race has held Group 1 status since 2002. Prior to 2015 the race was open to three year olds but since then it has been restricted to four year old horses and older as the new Group 1 Commonwealth Cup was set up in 2015 for the three year olds. However, three year olds foaled in the Southern Hemisphere are also eligible.
With the race only being barred to Northern Hemisphere three year olds since 2015 it is difficult to look at a statistical age profile for a likely winner. However, the last seven of the last eight winners have all been four and five year olds. In the last 48 renewals however, horses aged over five have only won on five occasions so it would seem prudent to rule out runners older than five.
The betting from a statistical viewpoint is a bit of a minefield as nine of the last 19 winners won at double figure prices.
A happier hunting ground is looking at horses who have won or been placed at Royal Ascot previously as 10 of the last 23 winners have been no worse than placed before winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. It is also worth a cursory glance at horses who ran earlier in the week in the King’s Stand Stakes (run on the first day of the meeting) as four of the last 16 winners of this race ran in the former, although it should be noted that the last horse to do this was in 2008.
A run earlier in the season is absolutely essential as the race has not been won by a seasonal debutant for over 40 years. Form over 6 furlongs is also very important as since 1990 only Kingsgate Native has won the race without previously having won over the trip. Interestingly 14 of the last 17 winners had also run over 7 furlongs at some point.
An Official Rating of 112 has been required to win the race in 11 of the last 12 renewals and 11 of the last 12 winners had previously won at Group 1 to 3. In fact previous Group and Listed winners who had won earlier in the season have won 14 of the last 24 renewals.
Blue Point who won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday now has an Official Rating of 130. This puts him 5lb clear of the field and he is clearly the horse to beat. However, with just four days between his two runs his ability to back up his earlier win has to be taken on trust. He has run twice previously after a 14 day break and was beaten on both occasions.
The James Tate-trained Invincible Army could be the one to beat him. The four year old bay colt has taken his form to new levels by winning both of his starts this season including the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes at York by 2¼ lengths. He has wins in Soft, Good and Good to Firm going so underfoot conditions will not phase him and he has previous winning form over course and distance when taking the Pavilion Stakes last year.
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