Royal Ascot is around the corner and the meeting is gearing up for its latest Australian invasion, including the clear favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Brazen Beau.
Australian wonder mare Black Caviar overcame injury to win the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Stakes in a race time that was a few seconds slower than most of her six-furlong victories in her home country. That Black Caviar won one of Royal Ascot’s big races despite not being 100 per cent right is one of the reasons why British bookmakers have installed Brazen Beau as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes favourite and why they are not taking any risks with his Australian compatriot, Wandjina.
One thinks that both Brazen Beau and Wandjina are under the odds for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Brazen Beau’s hype is built upon his Newmarket Handicap win at Flemington three months ago in which he lower the colours of Australian horse racing’s big three sprinters – Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee and Terravista. But what British bookmakers have failed to grasp is that the naive jockeys of Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee and Terravista handed the Newmarket Handicap on a plate to Brazen Beau, so pedestrian was the tempo of the race.
Dwayne Dunn, Craig Newitt and Hugh Bowman let Joao Moreira get away with the horse racing equivalent of murder in the Newmarket Handicap. Under Moreira, Brazen Beau walked the first half of the Newmarket Handicap and, carrying much less weight than Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee and Terravista, he was impossible to run down after enjoying an easy lead. Horse racing pundits around the world acclaimed Brazen Beau for his 2.8-length Newmarket Handicap win but the clock did not lie and it said that the form was totally untrustworthy.
Brazen Beau has won each of his last three races over six furlongs but none of his winning times has been out of this world and, unlike in the Newmarket Handicap in which he met his major market rivals on favourable weight terms, he will not receive any weight relief in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Wandjina is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes third favourite and, while he is one of Australia’s toughest gallopers, he does not have anything close to Group One form over six furlongs. Wandjina’s best performances in Australia have been over either seven furlongs or one mile, with Gai Waterhouse’s colt attempting to lead all the way as so many of that stable’s star equine athletes do. If Brazen Beau is under the odds at +400 with 888Sport to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Wandjina is a criminal price at +1200 with several bookmakers, including Bet365, Boylesports and WilliamHill.
By and large, bookmakers do not get many markets on premier horse races wrong so, with one rating the Diamond Jubilee Stakes favourite and third favourite much lower than odds setters, the obvious value play at a decent price is the second favourite, Dermot Weld’s sprinter, Mustajeeb at 7.00 with Bet365, Boylesports and WilliamHill.
Mustajeeb, who is six months older than Brazen Beau because they were born in different hemispheres, is backing up from the Greenland Stakes at The Curragh in which he gave every indication that six furlongs his ideal trip. Mustajeeb was having his first run below seven furlongs since his debut when he won the Greenland Stakes with something to spare.
Generally speaking, Australian sprinters are superior to European sprinters because Australian horse racing is skewed towards races below one mile – that is where the prize money is. Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee and Terravista – particularly the first two – would be very attractive at odds of +400 to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes but Brazen Beau is not really in their class and he is a false favourite whom punters should look to oppose with the top European contender.
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