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The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes is a race with an imposing title and illustrious history, but only those of a glass half full mind would say that this is a vintage renewal. The Classic generation isn’t represented at all and only seven line up in a field short of true star quality.
Last year’s Irish Derby and Champion Stakes winner Dylan Thomas is the one horse of real Group 1 class in the field, but even he may be found wanting on ground much softer than ideal. His stablemate, St. Leger winner Scorpion, has been all the rage ante-post and he will certainly thrive in the stamina sapping conditions. However, the best value in the race is Youmzain.
Mick Channon’s charge has mostly been racing abroad, so lacks the high profile of some of the other runners. But on his best form he has a chance. Youmzain defeated subsequent Breeders’ Cup Turf victor Red Rocks in the Great Voltigeur last term and was within half a length of Arc winner Rail Link. As a son of Sinndar he won’t mind cut in the ground and 8/1 is a fair price.
The most fascinating race on Ascot’s card is the Totesport.com International Stakes. This race is so wide-open that the bookies are offering 8/1 and higher against the entire field.
Last year’s winner Dabbers Ridge looks a cracking each-way bet at 12/1. He broke the course and distance record when winning this last year on ground that was faster than ideal for him and races off just a three-pound higher mark. Up at York, Marcorville who ran a blinder in second in the Pitmen’s Derby can go one better in the Skybet.com Silver Cup.
2:40 York: Marcorville (win)
3:45 Ascot: Dabbers Ridge (each-way)
4:20 Ascot: Youmzain (win)