Saturday’s closing Group One feature, The Diamond Jubilee Stakes, sees 10 horses from four countries go head to head over the six furlong sprint track.
Last year’s winner from the USA, Undrafted, is back to defend his title but this time he will be without the services of Frankie Dettori, who has opted for what looks the best of the British contingent, recent Duke of York Stakes winner, Magical Memory.
Australia is represented by Holler, who is looking to replicate Black Caviar’s 2013 win for that nation, whilst France is represented by Signs of Blessing and Hong Kong by the consistent Gold-Fun, trained by ex-patriot Richard Gibson.
The supporting race is the mile-and-a-half Hardwicke Stakes, arguably the best Group Two race in the country in quality terms.
Unusually for a Group 2, there is no penalty structure in place. To explain the importance of this in terms of attracting the best horses to run, almost all Group Two races require Group One winners to carry a penalty – extra weight. As that is not the case here, horses like Simple Verse, last year’s St Leger winner (and winner of the Group One fillies race here on Champions Day) can run without that burden.
This year’s Hardwicke really is Group One in all but name with that star filly lining up now against last year’s King George runner up, Eagle Top, Group One Hong Kong Vase winner, Highland Reel, and two rapidly improving four-year-old recent winners for Sir Michael Stoute in Exosphere and Dartmouth.
Sir Michael has no peers when it comes to patiently improving horses that were not mature enough to show their best at three and this pair look Classic Sir Michael projects, who could go to the top. In the case of Dartmouth that would be particularly exciting as he is owned by The Queen.