Racing: Lammtarra a diamond

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The Independent Online
Racing

The most glittering race in Ascot's calendar, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes on Saturday, could suffer from the embarrassment of riches enjoyed by the Maktoum family.

Just nine horses stood their ground at yesterday's declaration stage for what should be the supreme midsummer test to decide whether the three- year-olds' elders are their betters. The outsider, Environment Friend, seems destined to renew rivalry with successive generations into the next millennium, even if he lacks credibility as a yardstick with which to beat them.

Five of the first six in the betting are concentrated in the hands of Sheikh Mohammed or his Godolphin operation, but uncertain plans prompted two of the big bookmakers to offer the "with a run" concession about all the possibles.

The Derby winner Lammtarra is an intended runner, but the participation of the Irish Derby winners of last year and this, Balanchine and Winged Love, as well as of the Arc winner Carnegie, has yet to be confirmed. The much-travelled Red Bishop has had Brazil next month, rather than Berkshire, pencilled into his itinerary.

The connections of Pentire, who has been made favourite, will have the added, if anguished, interest of measuring the extent to which they blundered in not entering him for the Derby. Lammtarra, at 100-30 with Coral, looks value to vindicate their initial pessimism.

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