4.20 Royal Ascot
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) | 6f | 4yo+ | ITV4/Sky
The Diamond Jubilee is run over exactly six furlongs. If it were run over six furlongs and six yards Dream Of Dreams would be a double winner of the race and going in search of a glorious hat-trick.
The evergreen son of Dream Ahead almost spoiled Blue Point's swansong in 2019. Another stride was all Danny Tudhope required. It was a similar story in 2020 as Ryan Moore was gunning down Hello Youmzain with every stride but failed by a head to reel him in.
The older Dream Of Dreams is getting the better he looks and, just like 12 months ago, he arrives after a smooth success in a Listed sprint at Windsor.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, has issued an upbeat bulletin on Dream Of Dreams but he does not feel the seven-year-old is as effective on heavy ground as he is on a slicker surface.
Raymond said: "He’s going exceptionally well and looks a million dollars. I wouldn’t want the ground to go heavy as he probably wouldn’t be so effective on it, as is the case with most horses that sort of ground blunts their speed. I think he’ll be okay."
'It will require a career-best to win, but she's in the form of her life'
Paddy Twomey might not be an instantly recognisable name in Britain, but his reputation has been soaring in Ireland and his strike-rate is remarkable.
He has sent out seven winners from just 28 runners this season, while nine others have been placed. He had a 22 per cent success rate last year, 29 per cent in 2019 and 25 per cent in 2018. This is a trainer going places.
The fact that Moyglare kept the daughter of Dark Angel in training with Twomey after splashing the cash last December speaks volumes. They forked out 900,000 guineas for Sonaiyla and could get £396,970 of it back if she wins. Such a scenario is not beyond the bounds of possibility either.
Sonaiyla did remarkably well to win the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh last time, having almost been knocked over shortly after leaving the stalls, and Twomey reports her to be in tip-top shape for her big showdown.
Twomey said: "It will require a career-best to win, but she's in the form of her life. All ground comes alike to her and I actually think all this rain won't inconvenience her at all. She's drawn in four, in between Dream Of Dreams and Glen Shiel, so I'm happy about that."
The last Irish-trained winner of the Diamond Jubilee was the Aidan O'Brien-trained Merchant Navy in 2018, while Slade Power did the business for Eddie Lynam and Wayne Lordan in 2014. Sonaiyla is the sole Irish representative on this occasion.
What they say
Alastair Donald, racing manager to King Power Racing, owners of Art Power and Happy Power
Both horses will love soft conditions. Things didn't go right first-time out for Art Power and he wasn't fully fit but in these conditions at Ascot I think he will run a big race. Happy Power is more of a seven-furlong horse, but a stiff six in this ground at Ascot could play to his strengths and I think he's an each-way player.
William Haggas, trainer of Nahaarr
He's in good form and came out of York, where he ran really well, fine. He's won an Ayr Gold Cup on slow ground, but I have no idea how he would handle it if it was heavy. We'll have to see about that.
Ed Walker, trainer of Starman
I’d say he’s 95 per cent certain to not run. It’s pretty brutal, really; we’ve got this horse of a lifetime and we can’t run him. He’s been to Ascot once before on soft ground and didn’t perform; we don’t want to make the same mistake again.
David O'Meara, trainer of Summerghand
We thought we'd run here rather than carryy top weight in the Wokingham. He ran satisfactorily in the Duke Of York on a track that has never really seen him in his best light. He goes well at Ascot. The very soft ground I wouldn't be certain of but we have run him on it before and he did okay.
Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Final Song
Final Song ran some very good races out in Dubai over the winter but we were disappointed with her at York. She looks in good form at the moment, with the way she has been working in the mornings and how she looks. She has won on soft ground before, so conditions shouldn’t be an issue, and we are looking for another good run.
Paddy Twomey, trainer of Sonaiyla
It will require a career-best to win, but she's in the form of her life. All ground comes alike to her and I actually think all this rain won't inconvenience her at all. She's drawn in four, in between Dream Of Dreams and Glen Shiel, so I'm happy about that.