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The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes takes place this afternoon over 5f and it is shaping up to be a thrilling race
Being billed by some as a rematch between Starspangledbanner and Equiano, who fought out a stirring finish to the July Cup, you can watch this afternoon's Nunthorpe Stakes along with all today's racing at bet365, whose live streaming service is available at no cost to bet365 customers.
You can also claim a £200 free bet when opening an account today using bonus code MAXIMUMBONUS.
Only a neck separated the pair at Newmarket with victory going to Aidan O'Brien's Australian import and strictly on that performance he should come out on top again. However, it doesn't take much to swing such a narrow margin and the pair's form over the minimum trip gives a strong indication that the tables might be turned here.
O'Brien is adamant that Starspangledbanner is a "very fast horse" but I'm not convinced that 5f is his trip. In three starts over it, all in Australia, he's been beaten twice (won the other but got disqualified) and showed enough stamina to win over a mile. Furthermore, both his wins in the UK have been over 6f with the help of a rail, whereas York is a quick 5f and, with the stalls being positioned on the far side, he couldn't be further away from the rail in stall 13.
Granted, the centre of the track has looked the place to be this week but I still think he will be taken off his feet in the early stages and Equiano, who is all about speed, could well steal a decisive length off him. Barry Hills' five-year-old was only eighth to Borderlescott 12 months ago but has looked better than ever this season and his trainer, who has won this race twice, is sounding bullish about his chances. I'm not having a good week tips-wise (Overturn / Sariska) but I do think Equiano - a 4/1 shot with William Hill - will get his revenge here.
Of course, this is no two-horse race with Fleeting Spirit (8/1 bet365) and Kingsgate Native (8/1 Ladbrokes) having shown enough to suggest they can mix it with the big two. Then there is the remarkable Borderlescott (14/1 Ladbrokes), who is bidding for a hat-trick in this race after making a miraculous recovery from injury. Of the trio, I like Fleeting Spirit, who, for once, might get the soft ground she needs over her best trip.
However, for a value bet, I'm going to put up the juvenile DINKUM DIAMOND, who gets a hefty weight allowance. Lyric Fantasy and Kingsgate Native proved that two-year-olds can win this race and the selection has already proved himself a smart sprinter when winning is first two starts. He showing a good turn of foot to win a Salisbury maiden on his debut, and followed up when putting four previous winners to the sword in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown.
Last time out, he was only sixth when favourite for the Norfolk Stakes, a length behind the fourth, Stone Of Folca (12/1 Ladbrokes), but that run is best forgotten as he returned from there with sore shins and joints. He's been freshened up since and is clearly highly regarded by his trainer Henry Candy, who has won some big races with sprinters like Kyllachy and Airwave. I'm not saying Dinkum Diamond is as good as that pair (at least at this stage of his career) but I do believe he's knocking good each-way value at 28/1 with Stan James.
Dinkum Diamond 1pt each-way @ 28/1 Stan James (use bonus code MAXIMUMBONUS to claim a £25 free bet)