Diamond Shines at Ayr
WINNER 52 OF 2021: MARIE'S DIAMOND, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Ben Curtis : The feature Class 2 'Weddings at Western House Hotel Handicap' over 1m at Ayr.
With an official rating of 102, he was in handicap company for the second time, wearing saddle cloth number 1. He broke smartly and contested the lead with the favourite, who Ben allowed to stride on, slotting Marie's Diamond just in behind. As the leader pressed on, he was given a niggle along at the 3 pole and made his challenge inside 2f out. The favourite was gutsy and stubborn to pass, but with Ben urging 'The Diamond' forward, he kept on really gamely to lead in the final strides; with his winning margin, being a 'head.'
You could see some of his owners at the finish line, not sure whether to cheer or not, but when the result was announced, arms went into the air (or should that be Ayr!)
Watch the full race replay here: https://www.racingtv.com/videos/watch/horse_racing_replays/341176-weddings-at-western-house-hotel-handicap-2
See the official photo gallery here: https://www.grossick.co.uk/p/80532khg/C385190230/x5-marie-s-diamond
Timeform rated it as a 112 performance, saying: "Set easiest assignment he's faced for some time and that, coupled with his best effort of the season, was enough to see him regain the winning thread; pressed leader, pushed along over 2f out, kept on well, edged ahead dying strides; showed a good attitude.”
The Racing Post made him their 'Star performer' on the card: "Marie's Diamond (3.20) proved what a smart sort he is at his best with a win in the feature event" and to add to that, they made RED BOND, our Keith Dalgleish trained runner in the next race, their 'Eyecatcher' (see the screenshot in the gallery.)
Syndicate manager Mike told The Racing Post: "He was a big price but he was so tough in the end, wasn’t he? He couldn’t adopt his normal front-running tactics, so Ben just sat on him nicely, but a furlong out I didn’t think he was going to get there. He was so tough in that final half-furlong.The key to him is that quick ground. When he gets that he just gets rolling and really battles. As soon as there’s any juice in the surface, he flounders a little bit and just sticks on rather than stays on. He’s a different animal when it’s quick. He’s in the Golden Mile at Goodwood but because that’s an early closer he’s in there off 105 and he will have a penalty on top of that, so that might be a stiff ask."
Read their full story here: https://www.racingpost.com/news/race-reports/quick-ground-the-key-as-maries-diamond-battles-to-first-handicap-success/501225.
Mike went on to say " It was lovely to see him get his head in front again and the way he gets rolling on that fast ground is a sight to behold. A sensible ride from Ben, as he could quite easily have gone upsides the leader early on and compromised both of their chances but he just sat off him. The leader was on almost perfect fractions but Marie's Diamond was tough in the final 100 yards and just wanted it more. Congratulations to his owners, on his 7th career win."
He has to be one of our favourite syndicate horses. His career began as a 2yo, with a win on debut, became a Group 3 winner and was twice a Group 2 runner up in that season. A Listed winner at both 3 and 4, he was a fantastic 3rd in the 2020 running of the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. Now with just under £270k of prize money won, he is still giving them plenty to cheer, so well done to Mark and his team too, for keeping him sweet.
A day where we also passed £500,000 of race prize money won by our horses for the year, so a very nice milestone......so far!