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Wokingham Stakes preview I

Several decent races tomorrow to complete Royal Ascot week but the biggest handicap of the week to most is the Wokingham. A right bastard of a race if you ask me, so tough I've had to draft in two previews! This one from regular contributor Kieran Kenneally, @kierankenneally.

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The Wokingham

I used to love a big handicap back in the day. The Stewards Cup, Ayr Gold Cup and the Epsom Dash were my big three. It seemed to me back then that there was more form lines per horse in the old Sporting Life and all interconnecting. That could also just be nostalgia for an old friend.
The Wokingham handicap, 29 runners across the track, what a challenge!

Let's start with Dinkum Diamond. 3rd behind Duke of Firenze over 5f at Epsom he is now 7lb better off for a half length beating. You could argue that Dinkum Diamond is even better off as he was very badly drawn that day and also had trouble in running. Duke of Firenze had a perfect draw. Although 19 of his 22 career runs have been at the minimum trip he also has good Listed form over 6f as a 3yr old against Genki and that horse has run with considable credit in Group 1 races across Europe. Older now, this strong travelling sort can improve into the top class sprinter a lot of people thought he was earlier in his career. Drawn right in the middle in15 can be a bonus as his jockey can follow whichever side the pace comes from.

Duke of Firenze himself looked as if another furlong would be no problem as he finished very strongly at Epsom and he has the added bonus again of Ryan Moore in the saddle and an excellent draw in 31.

Rex Imperator beaten just over a length by Duke of Firenze over 6f last July is 20lb better off for that defeat. This lightly raced runner dropping back in distance from his most recent runs is a very big player and could be one of the few runners In the race capable of progressing to Group level.

York Glory unlucky behind Kingsgate Choice on his most recent run had Duke of Firenze back in fifth that day and is weighted to confirm that running.

Louis The Pious is closely matched with York Glory on form and has the excellent Daniel Tudhope in the saddle but is not weighted to reverse form with that rival.

Regal Parade is too old, prefers cut in the ground and is probably better over further these days.

Hitchens won a Group 3 in Ireland on his most recent run but carries a lot of weight and may be vulnerable to some younger rivals in this contest. Has Johnny Murtagh in the saddle.

Elusivity is another David O'Meara runner but the stable jockey prefers Louis the Pious.

Royal Rock an old friend of the family is drawn badly in 3 but would have an outside chance on his best form and his first run of the season was very encouraging.

Arnold Lane seems to eventually have found the knack of winning and his trainer had a Royal Ascot winner yesterday. He's not a horse who strikes me as will prefer this drop in trip and would also appear to like some cut in the ground.

Mass Rally has an excellent chance on his most recent run and is taken to confirm that running with a few of today's rivals including Nocturn who was second in the same race.

In conclusion, it's no harm to have a few strings to your bow in a race of this nature. There is no logic to Duke of Firenze being 6/1 favourite when a horses like Dinkum Diamond is available at 25/1. After going through the form it's also impossible to ignore the obvious form chance of Rex Imperator at the weights.

Selections :
1 Rex Imperator 9/1
2 Dinkum Diamond 25/1
3 Mass Rally 20/1

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