This Sunday morning (AEST) in England during the Royal Ascot carnival, the John O’Shea-trained Godolphin galloper Holler will make his international debut in the coveted Diamond Jubilee Stakes 2016.
One of the world’s most prestigious sprint races, the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) runs on the final day of the Royal Ascot meeting and representing Australia in the lucrative feature is Commands colt Holler.
The three-year-old, winner of the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick in the autumn, hasn’t been seen since his second to Flamberge in Moonee Valley’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on March 24.
Jockey James McDonald rode him for his two most recent starts at home and is confident heading into the overseas’ classic this weekend where Holler will look to join Choisir (2003) and the mighty Black Caviar (2012) as Australian-trained speedsters to take out the Diamond Jubilee.
For the record, Starspangledbanner also won the race in 2010 at his second start in England for Aidan O’Brien having previously been prepared down under by Leon Corstens.
“I’m really happy with the barrier in the small field,” McDonald told Racing Victoria speaking of Holler’s gate nine of 10 draw.
“I think he will be in the right part of the track and he makes his own luck on top of the speed.
“He’s in great form, I couldn’t believe it when I first sat on him on Tuesday.
“He has really adapted to the straight conditions which we never saw from him in Australia, he had never been up the straight there.
“You never know, he might grow another leg.
“He really has adapted to the undulating surfaces and the straight rise at Newmarket, I felt that he worked really well.
“There will be no stone unturned and he is going into the race in great order.”
History suggests Holler is a livewire hope to finish in the money as two other Southern Hemisphere-bred colts, who ran in Australia as three-year-olds before a Diamond Jubilee attempt, before him.
Star Witness (2011) ran third to Society Rock on the back of a King’s Stand run, while last year Chris Waller’s Brazen Beau (2015) was runner-up to America’s Undrafted in his first run since taking out Melbourne’s Newmarket Handicap at Flemington over three months prior.
McDonald’s only concern ahead of Sunday’s clash is the current Soft-rated track at Royal Ascot.
“I’d like it to be not so puggy out there,” he said.
“It is quite testing ground; he will like to get his toe in the ground.
“I’d like it to either rain on the day, just to loosen it up a little, or to keep dry.”
Current Diamond Jubilee Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Charlie Hill’s Abernant and Duke of York Stakes winner this year Magical Memory ($4), the James Fanshawe-trained four-year-old The Tin Man ($5) who won the Leisure Stakes at Windsor late last month and Group 1 winner Twilight Son ($5).
Further down Diamond Jubilee Stakes betting at $11 is Holler.
Defending Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Undrafted is also back this season, the Wesley Ward-trained sprinter at $9 to go back-to-back for the first time since Right Boy (1958-59).
Check out the current Diamond Jubilee Stakes 2016 odds below, prices courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au.