David Ward’s Starman (GB), a winner of four of five races, and Saeed Suhail’s Dream Of Dreams (IRE), runner-up in this race the last two years, headline Saturday’s 6-furlong US$975,000 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot. The winner of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes will earn an automatic berth into this year’s US$1million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Diamond Jubilee winner to start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which will be run at 5 furlongs at Del Mar. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 25 to receive the rewards.
The Diamond Jubilee is the fourth of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races to be conducted during the Royal Ascot meeting. The race will be televised live on NBC, TVG, ITV and Sky Sports.
In his 2021 debut, Starman, trained by Ed Walker, won York’s 6-furlong Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (G2) on May 12. The bay son of Dutch Art (GB) took the lead in the final furlong and held off Nahaarr (IRE) by a neck for his fourth win, all at the 6-furlong distance.
“He is a massively exciting horse,” said Walker of the 4-year-old Starman. “He is a big imposing horse with that presence, a real head-turner in the string. He’s obviously very good as well. Everything has gone well since York.”
After winning his first three races last year, Starman finished 13th in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (G1) at Ascot over a soft course. Oisin Murphy has the mount on Starman.
The 7-year-old chestnut gelding Dream Of Dreams, trained by Michael Stoute, has finished second by a head in the last two runnings of the Diamond Jubilee, losing the 2019 race to Blue Point (IRE), and in 2020 to Hello Youmzain (FR). But following last year’s defeat, Dream Of Dreams returned on Aug. 15 at Newbury and romped home a 7-length winner in the Unibet Hungerford Stakes (G2). That win set him up for his biggest score yet, when he captured the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Stakes at Haydock by 1 ¼ over Glen Shiel (GB) in September.
In preparation for this year’s race, Dream Of Dreams won the listed Weatherbys ePassport Stakes at Windsor on May 17. He will be ridden Saturday by Ryan Moore.
Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum’s 5-year-old Nahaar has won six races for trainer William Haggis, including three last year. A bay son of Dark Angel (IRE), Nahaar just missed taking his first Group stakes race in his gallant runner-up effort in the Duke of York.
Another son of Dark Angel is Power Racing’s 4-year-old Art Power (IRE), who won last year’s Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap at Royal Ascot by 3 ¼ lengths, defeating 20 rivals. Trained by Tim Easterby, Art Power followed that win by taking the Lacken Stakes (G3) at Naas. Stepping into Group 1 competition in his next two starts, Art Power finished fourth in the Haydock Sprint and fourth in British Champions Sprint Stakes. He had a disappointing 2021 debut in the Duke of York Stakes when he started awkwardly and finished fifth. Silvestre De Sousa has the mount on Art Power.
Hambleton Racing’s Glen Sheil is seeking his ninth win. Trained Archie Watson, the 7-year-old chestnut gelding by Pivotal (GB) finished first or second in eight of nine starts last year. In addition to his British Champions Stakes win, Glen Sheil captured the Phoenix Sprint Stakes (G3) at the Curragh. He made his 2021 debut in the Wetherbys Ireland Greenland Stakes (G2), finishing fourth at the 9-5 favorite. Hollie Doyle will ride Glen Sheil.
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