What was billed as a straight duel between last year’s winner Memphis Tennessee and Mount Athos turned into a procession for the latter, and he has been rightfully flung to the summit of the Ascot Gold Cup market at 6/1.
Under a strong front-running ride from Jamie Spencer the outcome of the Diamond Ormonde Stakes was decided with half of the contest still to be seen, with Ballydoyle’s market leader visibly struggling under Ryan Moore from some way out.
Consequently, it is a difficult performance to judge with the favourite disappointing so spectacularly, although such was the commanding manner of Mount Athos’ victory, it would take a lot of faith in Aidan O’Brien’s runner to think that he would have been competitive even if ready to be so.
The fact that Nigel Twiston-Davies’ admirable but limited dual-code performer Mad Moose managed to come second highlights the strength of the race, but again, that shouldn’t dilute too much the performance of the winner.
Luca Cumani has said that the long-term plan for his six-year-old is the Melbourne Cup, with the sagacious saddler hoping that his charge will receive more luck in-running than when coming home fast in fifth after a nightmare passage at Flemington last year.
The Newmarket handler appears to be the key to the son of Montjeu, with the switch to Cumani’s surroundings bringing about a hat-trick of wins from this point on last season, including the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, before he departed for his international campaign.
Mount Athos and favourite Memphis Tennessee were head and shoulders above their rivals on ratings of 117, and so with the jolly out of the picture with half a mile to run a comfortable victory should have been expected.
However, the fact that the race fell for Jamie Spencer’s partner as it did, may have allowed the price not to shorten beyond the point of being big enough to take.
Ultimately, it depends on interpretation and a degree of speculation, but if you believe that Mount Athos would have won well regardless of how Memphis Tennessee ran, then the 6/1 pice on offer could be turn out to be a generous one when they line up at Ascot in the third week of June.
All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publishing.