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Ascot on Diamond Stakes day 1999
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes

Dateline: 07/28/00


One of the UK's biggest races of the year for the older horses, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot, celebrates its 50th running this year on July 29th. This Group 1 race for the grass stayers age 3 and up is 12 furlongs over going rated good to firm with a purse of £750,000 (approximately $1,133,615 US). A talented field of 8 was entered including last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Montjeu and a Japanese shipper, Air Shakur. Last year's third place finisher Fruits of Love was supposed to run but came back lame from a workout and has been withdrawn. Many had hoped Godolphin's spectacular Dubai Millennium would enter to challenge Montjeu, but his best distance is 10 furlongs so his connections are passing in favour of a shorter race later. The race will be broadcast live online Saturday morning at approximately 10:50am EDT (if the link here isn't working, try this). Here is the field in post position order each with a link to their recent form from Racingpost:

1Beat All K. Darley Sir M. Stoute 127
2Daliapour J.P. Murtagh Sir M. Stoute 131
3Fantastic Light J. Reid Saeed Bin Suroor 130
SCRATCHFruits of Love O. Peslier M. Johnston 134
5Montjeu M.J. Kinane J.E. Hammond 144
6Shiva T. Quinn H.R.A. Cecil 130
7Air Shakur Y. Take H. Mori 127
8Raypour J. Fortune John Oxx 122

Daliapour on Diamond Stakes day 1999
Based on his recent and past form, Montjeu looks unstoppable here. The going should be to his liking as rain is expected both Friday and Saturday and he seems to tower over the rest based on his Timeform rating. Daliapour has improved greatly this year and could be the one to finish second here. Air Shakur is the big question mark here as this will be his first race away from Japan. The 3 year old colt by Sunday Silence has performed well in his native land but how he will react after shipping over to a new country is the big question. If there is enough rain to change the footing to soft, Shiva could have a shot here as she was good enough to beat Daylami when on her preferred surface. If the rains don't come as expected she could be scratched.


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As expected 1-3 favorite Montjeu just toyed with this field. He laid off the pace set by longshot Raypour then kicked it in down the stretch rallying from last to first to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Fantastic Light with Daliapour in third. Longshot Beat All finished fourth while the highly touted Japanese runner Air Skakur was fifth. Final running time for the 12 furlong race was 2:29.98. His jockey, Michael Kinane, said after the race: "He is the best I have ever ridden - by a long shot. It was an awesome performance - he is just so special." You can read more about the race and see a really nice photo of Montjeu here on Sporting Life or here on Racing Post.

When asked about a possible meeting with Dubai Millennium, Sheikh Mohammed of Godolphin (whose runner Fantastic Light was second today) said: "Why didn't he come to Ascot last month? Montjeu is most welcome to take us on in the Breeders' Cup and I will even pay his entry fee!" So I guess we will have to wait a bit to see which of the pair is the best horse in Europe.

More info on the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes:

Photos courtesty of Emirates Racing Series

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