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Diomed Stakes preview

Only one preview for today's Oaks Card (I like The Fugue if interested) and it comes from speed figures analyst Steve Lines, @sjlone1. You can read more of his excellent work on his GeeGeez blog.
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Diomed Stakes Preview
The piece really should be titled ‘Can We Get Worthadd Beat?’ 


3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 – what’s the next number in the sequence? On all known evidence it should be a “1”. These are Worthadd’s form figures when campaigned below Group 1 class; the 3 was on his first start as a 2 year old on heavy ground in 2009; forgivable. His other 4 starts have form figures 3, 2, 9, 5 all Group 1s; his best performance was in the 2011 Lockinge when 1 ¼ lengths second to Canford Cliffs (remember him – he was thought to be able to beat Frankel 36 times out of a 100 as a 7/4 shot when they met). Official ratings have him 7 pounds clear so what negatives are there? Track: this will be the first time he’s ever been round a left hand bend in public, add in the undulations, and this will be new experience. It may be that Sir Mark Prescott Bt has worked him this way round but it won’t be at full racing pace. Pace: he could be allowed an easy lead if St Moritz isn’t ridden up with the pace. A contested lead would enhance the idiosyncrasies of the track, though not necessarily helping St Moritz; it would aid in-running layers. Going: as with a lot of foreign runners, there are never many going descriptions containing the word ‘firm’. While not having a ‘daisy cutting’ action he went well enough on good to firm in the Lockinge – although Newbury is flat. Unfortunately, for Worthadd layers, Epsom tend to overwater for this meeting and there is a chance of rain! 


Marcret won a poor Group 3 at Chester last time plus he may have been in the right place the way the race was run. He’d previously shown himself to be short of Group class. Going concerns are similar to those of Worthadd with wins on ‘Italian’ good ground but no fast ground form. The drop in trip shouldn’t be a worry but whether he has ever faced a course like Epsom on the provincial courses of Italy I doubt. It would be no surprise if Marco Botti was to extract more improvement but I see his current price of 7/1 as too short.


Andrew Balding has an interesting recruit in Side Glance. Depending on how you view it, he’s either been disappointing so far this year or being brought along slowly for the bigger mid-summer contests now upcoming. He has a verdict over Dance And Dance at Salisbury last year; he had better track position that day but seemed to always be holding Dance And Dance on the run in. He also trounced St Moritz at Ascot. He should have no problems with the forecast going. A winner round Chester, hopefully he’ll handle the undulations. He can take a keen hold and travels close to the pace so he will benefit from sitting behind a good gallop.


Dance And Dance has ground to make up on Side Glance based on their Salisbury and Woodbine form from last year. A hold up performer he improved last year but still has to win outside handicap company. A 100% record on the track, he will handle conditions whatever weather prevails between now and the start. Coming back from a 106 day absence he has a passable record fresh. He will be best served by a strong gallop but whether his course form will allow him to overturn Side Glance’s superiority is doubtful.


St Moritz holds the key to the way the race is to be run. A possible front-runner he has an enviable record of only once being out of the frame in this country (he has yet to be in the frame when travelling abroad). He has to be in any trader’s portfolio as a back to lay wager. A close second in this last year when he had the run of the race he looks guaranteed to play a major part in the outcome.


Mac Love is now 11, and a previous winner of this race. He will need a strong pace to execute his come-from-behind style. His trainer is in good form but he will need all the others to underperform if he is to win. You will quickly go broke backing 11 year olds in this class of contest.


My speed ratings place Worthadd, St Moritz and Side Glance with identical figures so nothing to be gleaned there. 


So can we get Worthadd beat? We stand a better chance if St Moritz competes for the lead and the rain stays away. Worthadd’s price may depend on the weather overnight. If it stays dry I will be playing St Moritz (now 8/1) as a back to lay with the aim to cover my stake on Side Glance who’s at 4/1 – he also has some soft ground form so overnight rain shouldn’t be an inconvenience.


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