2012 Royal Ascot: Black Caviar Steps Into The Spotlight

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Luke Nolen mount Black Caviar wins the Roberts Sangster Stakes race on Schweppes Oaks Day at Morphettville Racecourse on April 28, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Regi Varghese/Getty Images)

The 2012 Royal Ascot met began with another brilliant performance from Frankel (GB), and it will conclude with the first appearance outside of Australia of the undefeated sprinter Black Caviar (AUS) in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The Diamond Jubilee is the third race on the Saturday card (post time: 3:45pm British Time) and is run at six furlongs on the straight.

Below are the entries, post positions and current best odds from UK bookmakers (via the Racing Post) for the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, along with some thoughts on trying to beat Black Caviar.

# PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML
7 1 Sirius Prospect S. Kelly D. Ivory 66/1
1 2 Genki (IRE) G. Baker R. Charlton 66/1
2 3 Hitchens (IRE) TBA D. Barron 50/1
4 4 Krypton Factor (GB) K. Fallon F. Nass 28/1
12 5 Moonlight Cloud (GB) T. Jarnet F. Head 6/1
10 6 The Cheka (IRE) T. Queally E.Houghton 33/1
14 7 Es Que Love (IRE) S. De Sousa M. Johnston 100/1
9 8 Soul (AUS) F. Dettori S. bin Suroor 66/1
3 9 Jimmy Styles (GB) R. Hughes C. Cox 100/1
5 10 Pastoral Player (GB) D. Holland H. Morrison 33/1
15 11 Restiadargent (FR) M. Guyon H-A Pantall 66/1
13 12 Bogart (GB) P. Makin K. Ryan 100/1
8 13 Society Rock (IRE) J. Murtagh J. Fanshawe 12/1
6 14 Royal Rock (GB) T. Duncan C. Wall 66/1
11 15 Black Caviar (AUS) L. Nolen P. Moody 1/4

Black Caviar is the most likely winner of this race given her outstanding form and dominating front-end speed, but her odds are likely to be ridiculously low and I've got to try and find a horse that can beat her in this spot. The only factor that might get Black Caviar beat is the ground at Ascot on Saturday; without knowing more about the ground she raced over in Australia, it's difficult to assess how she'll handle what will likely be a typically soft and demanding course.

If I'm looking for an upset play, I like the runner from France trained by Freddy Head, 12-Midnight Cloud (GB). I think this filly has a couple of factors in her favor in this race. First, she's proven over soft ground, winning the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August of 2011, as well as non-stakes wins at Longchamp and Deauville over soft ground earlier in her career. With the ground at Ascot expected to be "Good to Soft" tomorrow, this filly's prior success over similar ground might move her up. Second, she looked good winning a Group 3 event at Longchamp at seven furlongs in early June in her first start of 2012. I like the move of running her at seven furlongs the first time off the lay-off and then the cutting back to six furlongs in the Diamond Jubilee.

There is a concern that Midnight Cloud is better suited to races at seven or eight furlongs, rather than the six panels she'll cover in this race. But I'm hoping that the ground conditions will make this race a demanding six furlongs and, therefore, will allow her stamina edge to given her a leg up over some of her rivals.

There is one American-bred horse in the Diamond Jubilee: Sirius Prospect, a son of Gone West out of a Anabaa mare (Stella Blue (FR)). This gelding looks to be up against it in this race as he's never won a Group stakes race in his career, finishing 10th of 13 in a Group 2 event last time out.

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