Royal Ascot Saturday: an each-way longshot for the Diamond Jubilee
In the Hardwicke (G2) at 1 1/2 miles, it's hard to look past either defending titlist Dartmouth, who gave The Queen great satisfaction in beating Highland Reel a year ago, or Wings of Desire, who finished behind Highland Reel and ahead of Dartmouth in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) last July. In case you've been hiding under a rock, Highland Reel subsequently won the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), Coronation Cup (G1) and Wednesday's Prince of Wales's (G1).
In the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee (G1), fan favorite Limato is looking to rebound from a couple sub-par efforts. Hero of the July Cup (G1) and Prix de la Foret (G1) last season, Limato was not as effective when stretching out in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, finishing sixth as the mild favorite, and was a complete no-show in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan in late March on yielding ground he more than disliked.
Beating Limato will be no small task if he runs his race, but there are 18 other possibilities in this cavalry charge. While I harbor no grand illusions of knocking him off, it's the kind of race where an action each-way play on a longer shot may be warranted.
He might want a little longer trip than this, but #1 ACCLAIM (20-1) has room to improve in this spot. Group 3-placed and coming off a trio of unplaced attempts, the colt finally found his stride last fall reeling off three straight wins, including a minor score going a mile over this course and in the seven-furlong Challenge (G2) at Newmarket by a length against the Group 1-winning filly Lumiere.
Returning to action in the May 20 Lockinge (G1) over a mile at Newbury, Acclaim was only 9-1 in a field that included blowout winner Ribchester, who landed the Queen Anne (G1) on Tuesday, and classic scorer Galileo Gold, since retired. Acclaim showed little on the soft ground, beating two rivals while 13 lengths behind Ribchester, and reportedly came out of the race with an infection. He has a right to move forward in the second start of his campaign.
As noted above, I'll take some each-way action on Acclaim at or above his U.S. morning line, and probably tie him in an Exacta with Limato.
Be sure to check out Kellie Reilly's opinions on the Hardwicke and Diamond Jubilee.