Diamond Jubilee Preview: Out On A Lim

With the dominant six-furlong sprinter of 2015 Muhaarar retiring at the end of that season, the scene was set in 2016 for a new dominant force to emerge in the divison.

Diamond Jubilee Preview: Out On A Lim

With the dominant six-furlong sprinter of 2015 Muhaarar retiring at the end of that season, the scene was set in 2016 for a new dominant force to emerge in the divison.

That didn't really happen, however, with the main Group 1 prizes of the British campaign being split between four different horses. Twlight Son - who won the Diamond Jubilee last season - has been retired, but the winners of last season's July Cup, Sprint Cup and Champions Sprint Stakes are all set to clash at Ascot on Saturday.

Limato Picture:Pat Healy Photography

Ratings – while not the be-all-and-end-all –rule the roost here at Timeform , and have done for over 70 years, and, unless Signs of Blessing Horseform does something special in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes and attempts to follow up in the Diamond Jubilee, Limato Horseform will be top on the weight-adjusted ratings for Saturday’s six-furlong contest.

Suedois Picture:Racing and Sports

After reappearing over a mile in the Lockinge in 2016, he proved better than ever once dropped back to sprint trips, winning the July Cup at Newmarket (by two lengths from Suedois, Quiet Reflection third) and Prix de la Foret (7f) at Chantilly in October, as well as having several of these rivals behind him when two lengths second to Mecca's Angel Horseform in the Nunthorpe over the minimum trip in-between. He again wasn’t at his best back over a mile when only three and a half lengths sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November, and was well below form on rain-softened ground in Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on his reappearance. Saturday’s race is likely to have been his target for some time, however, and with the return to better ground in his favour he looks the one to beat.

Quiet Reflection Horseform is a high-class filly who has won seven of her last nine starts, successful four times in 2016, including the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock, the Commonwealth Cup over C&D at this meeting and the Sprint Cup back at Haydock (by one and three quarter lengths from The Tin Man Horseform) in September. She found less than looked likely when only seventh to the same rival in the Champions Sprint Stakes over C&D on her final outing last term, and was again below form when 10th to Priceless in the Temple Stakes (5f) at Haydock last time. She should benefit from that outing/the return to this trip but has a little bit to prove now.

The Tin Man was fourth to Muhaarar in the Champions Sprint Stakes here in 2015 and matched that form when winning a strong listed race at Windsor on his return last term. He proved to be a disappointment back at the top level when beating only one home in this race 12 months ago, but bounced back when winning the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury the following month, and took another step back in the right direction when second to Quiet Reflection in the Sprint Cup. He subsequently produced a career-best when winning the most recent Champions Sprint Stakes by a length here (Growl second, Brando third, Signs of Blessing fourth, Quiet Reflection seventh) in October and ran as well as could be expected when fifth to Tasleet under a penalty in the Duke of York Stakes on his reappearance last month. He looks a major contender with that run under his belt and back on level weights.

Tasleet Horseform rates as the new(ish) kid on the block. He was useful over six furlongs as a two-year-old, but only raced twice last season, winning a rerouted three-runner Greenham Stakes at Chelmsford in April, before failing to fire in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket six months later, both at 7f. He looked better than ever when second over the same trip at Leicester on his reappearance this season, and was then much improved in first-time cheekpieces when winning the Duke of York (by two and a half lengths from Magical Memory) last time. He appeared to relish the drop back to this trip that day and a repeat of that form would put him firmly in the mix.

Magical Memory Horseform won the 2015 Stewards’ Cup and the Abernant Stakes on his seasonal return last April, before following up in the Duke of York Stakes the following month. He shaped well when fourth in this race last term, not seen to best effect in a fairly tactical race, but went backwards on his next two starts, in the July Cup and Sprint Cup. He took a step back in the right direction when second to Tasleet on his reappearance last month, however, and the percentage call is that he will reverse placings with the winner if the pair re-oppose here.

The Francois Rohaut-trained Signs of Blessing Horseform – winner of the Prix Maurice de Gheest last season – was a creditable third in this race 12 months ago, and could attempt to do the King’s Stand/Diamond (aka Golden) Jubilee double; the last horse to do that was Choisir, who also became the first horse since Stanerra in 1983 to win twice at the meeting. Signs of Blessing is a high-class performer, but it would be a surprise were he capable of matching those achievements, for all that he has place claims. Last year’s Commonwealth Cup third Washington DC faces an even stiffer task and of more interest is Brando, who won the Ayr Gold Cup in September, but didn’t quite match that level of form when a length third to The Tin Man in the Champions Sprint over this C&D a month later. He looked a horse to follow when landing the Abernant Stakes on his reappearance in April, but reportedly bled when almost pulled up at York last time.

While the admirably consistent Suedois Horseform, who was only beaten half a length when fifth in this race 12 months ago, is respected, the sprinters’ wheel of fortune keeps on spinning round to Limato. He was most dominant when granted his ideal conditions of six furlongs and quick ground in the July Cup, and, with conditions likely to be similar here, he looks a solid bet at 5/1.

Recommended bet:

Back Limato to win the Diamond Jubilee at 5/1

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