The 2013 Diamond Jubilee Stakes marks the final of nine Group 1 races in the annual Royal Ascot meeting, and a former winner in Society Rock is the current favorite from the No. 8 post position.
Society Rock enters having won his most recent race at the Duke of York Stakes, but he will have to negotiate the massive field of 17 other horses to find the winner's circle on Saturday at Ascot Racecourse.
There are only six furlongs for jockey Kieren Fallon to make that happen. Even a jockey of his immense experience will have a difficult time maneuvering that well against what should be a viable bunch of fellow competitors.
Let's take a look at the post time and odds for each horse as the race approaches, then get into some predictions, followed finally by complete projections for all horses.
When: Saturday, June 22; post time is 10:45 a.m. ET
Where: Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, Berkshire, England
TV: Channel 4 (UK)
Listen: BBC 5 Radio Live
Post Positions and Complete Field
Silvestre De Sousa
Saeed bin Suroor
Gordon Lord Byron
David Peter Nagle
Fabrice Veron ||H-A Pantall ||50-1|
|7||Hawkeyethenoo||Graham Lee ||Jim Goldie ||12-1|
|8||Society Rock ||Kieren Fallon||James Fanshawe ||4-1|
|9||Havelock||Frankie Dettori ||Darrin Miller ||25-1|
Rosdhu Queen ||Richard Hughes||William Haggas ||18-1|
|11||Mince||James Doyle ||Roger Charlton ||12-1
|12||Sirius Prospect ||Jim Crowley ||Dean Ivory ||33-1|
|13||Sea Siren ||Ryan Moore ||John O'Shea||8-1|
|14||Intense Pink||Seb Sanders||Chris Wall||40-1|
|15||Lethal Force||Adam Kirby||Clive Cox||10-1|
|16||Krypton Factor||Luke Morris||Fawzi Abdulla Nass||16-1|
|17||Slade Power||Wayne Lordon||Edward Lynam||10-1|
|18||Reply||Joseph O'Brien||Aidan O'Brien||28-1|
Horses, jockeys and post positions are courtesy of RacingPost.com. Odds were obtained from William Hill and are current as of 3:30 p.m. ET on 6/21/2013.
Society Rock Doesn't Live Up to Hype
The 2011 winner of this race is now six years old but apparently isn't showing signs of slowing down in light of the aforementioned win at the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes.
An even more impressive victory preceded that in the Group 1 Sprint Cup in September 2012. Fallon got the mount on that occasion as well.
However, the combination of the size of the field, short distance and potential traffic issues threaten to thwart Society Rock's bid to win this race for a second time. If the horse did pull out the victory, it would be just the second time in 50 years such a feat has been accomplished, per BloodHorse.com's Myra Lewyn.
History is already against Society Rock, but the weather might be, too. BBC notes the possibility of heavy showers after some morning rain on Saturday. That will cause the horses to sink deeper into the turf track, and thus make the six-furlong sprint even more grueling.
Society Rock isn't the specimen that last year's prolific winner, Black Caviar, was, and he doesn't have that type of prohibitive advantage over the other horses with respect to physique or speed.
Thus, it's difficult to justify—with any conviction, at least—choosing the odds-on favorite to find the winner's circle.
Long Shot to Watch: Mince
Which longer shot has the best shot to win?
Long shot is somewhat of a relative term, because the current odds have the field relatively bunched in that regard. Nevertheless, Mince is still projected to finish outside the top six and well out of the money.
That shouldn't be the case, though. Mince is a four-year-old filly with plenty of speed, and her jockey, James Doyle, has plenty of experience aboard.
Doyle rode Mince to victories at her final three races of the 2012 campaign—the finale of which was at the Bengough Stakes at Ascot, where she beat out fellow Diamond Jubilee Stakes competitor Soul, a 14-1 shot for Saturday.
It's also been a wonderful run for Doyle at Royal Ascot thus far—he won three races back-to-back on Wednesday. Combine that with his prior success with Mince, and the odds should even drop before the horses take their posts.
Three seems to be a common theme here, and don't be surprised if Mince is in the top three at race's end.
Winner: Gordon Lord Byron
The slight slip-up by Society Rock will allow Gordon Lord Byron to win the featured race of the day at Ascot Racecourse—and pick up a bit of sweet revenge along the way.
Gordon Lord Byron has had his fair share of close calls at other marquee races involving Society Rock. At the Duke of York Stakes, the five-year-old gelding ran third to champion Society Rock, then finished second to him at the Sprint Cup.
Jockey William Buick is still working on his consistency, but although he's only 25 years old, he has a great shot at Group 1 glory with one of the top horses in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Buick also won the race immediately following the Sprint Cup runner-up effort in the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret. That is slightly longer than the length at Ascot, but the likely blustery conditions and potentially damp track should only play into Gordon Lord Byron's favor all the more.
According to ITM, Tom Hogan, who trains Gordon Lord Byron, said after his win at the Prix de la Foret that he had never had a horse like him. If that's not hyperbole, it seems like an ideal situation for Gordon Lord Byron to notch another big Group 1 win.
Projecting Final Finish
1. Gordon Lord Byron
2. Dandy Boy
4. Society Rock
5. Lethal Force
7. Sea Siren
9. Slade Power
11. Krypton Factor
12. Sirius Prospect
14. Rosdhu Queen
17. Intense Pink