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Thursday 18 June 2015

Wokingham Stakes - Royal Ascot Outsiders

The annual ‘cavalry charge’ that is the Wokingham Stakes, takes place over 6 furlongs at Ascot and is, without question, the major betting heat on the final day of the Royal meeting. Two winning favourites in the last ten years is probably just about par for the course in a race of this nature, but winners at 33/1, 22/1, 20/1 and 14/1 in the same period suggest ‘tilting at windmills’ may not be an entirely fruitless process.

Dinkum Diamond (33/1) has run 39 times in a career stretching back to May 2010 but, amazingly, has never won a handicap. However, there was nothing wrong with his most recent effort in that sphere, when fifth of twenty-two, beaten 2½ lengths, behind Eastern Impact over 6 furlongs on the Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket last month. He subsequently proved no match for Tropics in a Listed race at Windsor but, with Edward Greatrex taking off a useful 7lb, he’s not badly handicapped on his best form and is virtually certain to run his race.
Poyle Vinnie (40/1) has an absence of 170 days to overcome and is used to plying his trade at a much lower level, but has officially improved 32lb since this time last year and may not have finished yet. He remains 12lb higher in the weights than when winning on the Fibresand at Southwell last November, but has shown his liking for a testing 6 furlongs in the past and could surprise some better fancied rivals. Nottinghamshire trainer Michael Appleby is 0-20 at Ascot, but there is, as they say, a first time for everything.

Related (33/1) is another who’s been campaigned on synthetic surfaces so far this season but, while he’s shown his best form on Polytrack, he made all to win a lower grade handicap, over 7 furlongs, at Goodwood last summer. His latest win, over 6 furlongs at Kempton in March, suggested a stiffer test of stamina would do him no harm and although he’s been off the course for 84 days he’s won after a similar break in the past.

Tilting at windmills we may be, but our three against the field this week are Dinkum Diamond (33/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral), Poyle Vinnie (40/1 with Totesport, Betfred and Coral) and Related (33/1 generally available). If we had to pick one, it would be Poyle Vinnie, who’s arguably the most progressive of the trio and may prove handily drawn in stall 16. Good luck!