The Group 2 Clipper Logistics Duke of York Stakes on the opening day of the Dante fixture at York could well prove a good guide for fans placing a Royal Ascot bet to the relative prospects of a number of contenders for the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 22.
The race produced something of a surprise victory for the classy Society Rock (10/1), a horse who generally needs an outing or two to hit peak form but who triumphed on this occasion on his seasonal reappearance, coming with a seriously strong late run to cut down Lethal Force in the shadow of the post to score by a head.
James Fanshawe’s six-year-old won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2011 and ran fifth to Black Caviar last year in the defence of his title so certainly knows his way home at the Berkshire track. He is now a 9/1 shot to regain his crown.
Gordon Lord Byron has been a tremendously reliable performer in recent season for Ireland’s Tom Hogan and he again ran a fine race on the Knavesmire, finishing with a flourish to grab third place, suggesting there could me more to come on a stiffer track such as Ascot.
Runner-up to Society Rock in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last September, Hogan’s charge is generally a 16/1 shot in the Royal Ascot odds for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes following his sound York effort.
The disappointment of the race was least season’s very progressive filly Mince who showed good speed until coming under pressure two furlongs out before eventually finishing a below-par 10th. Likely to come on for the run though, Roger Charlton’s four-year-old should not be discounted for Ascot just yet and is far from a forlorn hope at current ante-post odds of 12/1.