1:55 DBS Premier Yearling Stakes
Twenty juveniles who were catalogued in a series of Doncaster Bloodstock Sales auctions line up for a guaranteed pool of £325,000 over 6f to kick off Day 2 proceedings. This isn’t a sales race where what horses carry is based on their sales price so the class acts tend to come through and four of the last ten winners of this particular contest started favourite.
Kevin Ryan won the 2011 and 2012 runnings with horses not far behind the market leader and he is double-handed this season with Fast Act (rated 106) who is their main hope as Gaudy is rated 83 and they have already turned to a first-time visor with him despite a win at Newcastle last time out. Fast Act is second top-rated behind the dual Group 2 winner Kool Kompany (rated 111) but he receives 7lb from his main rival today so there is not a lot between them on pure ratings. Third in the Weatherbys Super Sprint, Fast Act then finished second in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes, both real speed tests especially the latter race, so he is going to have to prove that he is equally as effective over this 6f which he tries for the first time. Kool Kompany just keeps coming back for more and the lure of this big pot was just too much to resist despite having finished second in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes 11 days ago. He started at odds-on for that event where he went down by half a length to Dick Whittington which was his seventh start of the season. Prior to that he had won the Railway Stakes and Prix Robert Papin, both Group 2 affairs, so it would be no surprise if he outclassed his field giving 7lb away to virtually all of his rivals and we saw that top weight was no problem to Tigg Wiggy for the same stable in another sales race where she had to give even more weight away and bolted up. Sticking with the 100 club and the only other horse rated 100+ is Mukhmal but he has lost his way to an extent and not looked the easiest since having blazed a trail for much of the Norfolk Stakes (faded to finish sixth as got involved in a pace war up front) and was two places behind Fast Act in the Molecomb and now meets him on 5lb worse terms so he has it to do with Kevin Ryan’s runner. Throw in Mark Johnston’s poor Ebor Meeting record and Mukhmal is not for me.
In addition to Kool Kompany, Richard Hannon also runs Sawaahel and Flyball. Sawaahel made a winning debut at Newmarket. In fact “Sawaahel missed half a beat at the start but the early pace was a steady one and he soon found himself in front on his debut at Newmarket in what is usually a good maiden so it was a relative sprint but I like the way he battled after he looked like he would be swallowed up and stretched his neck out in the closing stages which bodes well for his career. Most Hannon-trained newcomers improve plenty from their first run to their second so he also has that in his favour. It was his professionalism more than anything that impressed which I love to see in two-year-olds.” Hughes isn’t going to get off a dual Group 2 winner of course so Dane O’Neill takes the ride and Sawaahel makes each-way appeal. Flyball shouldn’t be good enough.
William Haggas won this race last season and he runs Mubtaghaa and Valley Of Fire and chances can be argued for both. Mubtaghaa disappointed on the softening ground or plain wasn’t good enough when eighth behind Ivawood in the Group 2 July Stakes but he has a chance on his running-on third in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal ascot. Valley Of Fire won on his sole start when successful over course and distance last month, albeit by a gnat’s whisker in a three-way photo which suggests the form was ordinary for a York maiden. Still, he can be expected to build on a winning debut. Richard Fahey won this race in 2010 and is three-handed of which the pick looks to be Vimy Ridge (rated 12lb clear of his other pair of Tachophobia and Winstanley) but he has to bounce back from finishing ninth in a Glorious Goodwood nursery last time out, a race in which Markaz started favourite and finished second.
Kasbah is quite an interesting Irish raider sent over by Johnny Murtagh. He was fifth of six in that same Group 1 in which Kool Kompany finsihed second 11 days ago when tried in first-time blinkers but they have been removed for this contest. He was also beaten 3¾l by Kool Kompany in a Listed race in June but is 7lb better off. Gerry The Glover, Marcano and Arthurmartinleake arrive here off the back of winning a maiden last time out but they have some way to go to match the level of Kool Kompany or Fast Act. The rest are hard to make a case for.
CONCLUSION - class should out through either Kool Kompany or Fast Act in receipt of 7lb from him but I did like Sawaahel as an individual when he made a winning debut and he could be a touch of each-way value.
2:30 Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes
What a brilliant renewal this is of this Group 2 race for 2yo fillies over 6f with the Queen Mary Stakes winner, Anthem Alexander, taking on the Albany Stakes winner, Cursory Glance, with the Queen Mary runner-up, Tiggy Wiggy, whose Weatherbys Super Sprint win even surpassed what that pair achieved at Royal Ascot in terms of ratings, making this a fantastic three-cornered affair. It is double-figure prices bar the three but even a couple of those like Sulaalaat and Patience Alexander would be obvious contenders in any other year. First run in 1946, six Lowther Stakes winners have gone on to add the following season’s Qipco 1000 Guineas; Pourparler (1963-1964), Humble Duty (1969-1970), Enstone Spark (1977-1978), Harayir (1993-1994), Cape Verdi (1997-1998) and Russian Rhythm (2002-2003) and four of the last 13 winners went on to add the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes on their next start. I would argue, however, that Habibti back in 1982 can be singled out to be the race’s greatest winner going on to be crowned Champion Sprinter and British Horse of the Year the following season after failing to stay in the 1000 Guineas.
On the subject of sprinters, the last four winners were pretty much kept to sprinting for the rest of their career after winning the Lowther so it has been speed-based fillies that have been emerging on top of late. It is also worth noting that the subsequent July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes winners, Fleeting Spirit and Margot Did, finished runner-up in 2007 and 2010. Since Russian Rhythm won in 2002 the Sire Index for winning fillies has been 7.1f, 8.0f, 8.7f, 9.7f, 7.4f, 6.6f, 9.3f, 7.5f, 6.6f, 7.5f and 7.9f so speed in the main. Cursory Glance is by Distorted Humour (no, me neither) whose Sire Index is 8.7f and the further she went the better she looked when winning the Albany Stakes over 6f looking more of a miler in the making than her two main rivals today. Though as highlighted earlier, six 1000 Guineas winners have won the Lowther. Ten of the last 25 winners had won at Ascot earlier in the season so Roger Varian’s Albany winner scores well on that point and four of the last eight Lowther winners ran in the Albany Stakes (all four were beaten at Royal Ascot) so that race she won so well has had a strong impact since it was first run 11 years ago. Cursory Glance had Patience Alexander 2¼l back in third that day who shaped like a return back to 5f would suit her on that occasion but having finished last of four back at 5f at Haydock 12 days ago, there is a big leap of faith required to believe that she will be in the same form as when beating Tiggy Wiggy in the Marygate Stakes here at the Dante Meeting.
Nine of the last 20 favourites (including joint-favourites) were successful, the latest being Lucky Kristale last year so it has been a good race for the market and that position is currently held by Tiggy Wiggy after putting up an extraordinary performance to win the Weatherbys Super Sprint by 6l off top weight. We don’t have any published official ratings to work off for her two main rivals as yet but, for the record, Racing Post ratings have Tiggy Wiggy a huge 12lb clear of Cursory Glance and 14lb clear of Alexander Anthem who beat her by a neck in the Queen Mary. I have my doubts that Tiggy Wiggy could have improved as much as 15lb in one start and I also have my doubts that she will be equally as effective trying 6f for the first time as she looks all speed but I don’t doubt that she deserves to be favourite after her Newbury demolition job. As with the Gimcrack, the Hannon stable have won this Group 2 two-year-old on four occasions but, unlike the colts’ equivalent race at the meeting, two of those have come in recent years with Infamous Angel (2008) and Best Terms (2011) adding to the victories of Only Yours (1990) and Niche (1992).
Anthem Alexander has not run since beating Tiggy Wiggy by a neck in what looked a good Queen Mary this year and she has to give all her rivals 3lb as a consequence. That penalty has been carried successfully on nine occasions since 1989. Four fillies since 1998 have completed the Queen Mary-Lowther double (the Mick Channon-trained trio of Bint Allayl, Queen’s Logic and Flashy Wings plus Best Terms for the Hannon team) as did Dead Certain in 1989 but it has not been all plain sailing for the Queen Mary winner since then as 12 fillies have attempted to follow up their Queen Mary success over this extra furlong in the last quarter of a century and seven have failed; Risky and Gay Gallanta (second), Nadwa, Romantic Liason and Langs Lash (third) and Romantic Myth and Maqaasid (fourth). However, it still remains the most notable guide as ten Lowther winners have run in the Queen Mary in the last 26 years with finishing positions of 1242112161 which is two winners clear in the same time frame as the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (formerly the Cherry Hinton) at the Newmarket July Meeting with finishing positions of 24222631, though that race is unrepresented this year.
The only filly to win off the back of a maiden success since Bianca Nera 18 years ago was Carry On Katie (2003) which is the big statistic against Sulaalaat. Brian Meehan’s filly ran a promising second on debut for a stable not noted for having their debutantes jazzed up before strolling home at Nottingham by 4l at odds of 1/3. Clearly the opposition was not strong that day but she made all and quickened clear in the style of a smart prospect. The only maiden to win since Dance Sequence (1995) was Nahoodh six years ago so Lady Gemini and Pastoral Girl surely have too much on their plate in a stellar renewal. The field is completed by She’s A Worldie who was beaten in a nursery last time out off a handicap mark of 80 and the Richard Fahey-trained pair of Realtra and Bimbo who are nice types but surely not up to winning a Group 2 and especially as this is effectively a Group 1 this year given the quality of the three that dominate the market.
CONCLUSION - the ground looked to be riding fast on Day 1 which will favour the speedsters so I prefer Tiggy Wiggy and Anthem Alexander over Cursory Glance in that order.
3:05 Clipper Logistics Handicap
The first of two maximum-field handicaps on the card and, as this race takes place over a mile, high-drawn horses are likely to be at a disadvantage. Three and four-year-olds had monopolised this race for a decade until a six-year-old won last year so a younger horse in a single-figure stall is not a bad starting point and Red Avenger (1), Gabrial’s Kaka (6), Parbold (8) and Top Notch Tonto (9) fit into that category. The other six horses drawn in the lower half are aged 6, 6, 7, 7, 7 and 8.
Red Avenger won the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood under a superbly-timed ride by Jimmy Fortune in first-time blinkers which clearly did the trick and he is only 3lb higher here with the headgear fitted again so his chance is an obvious one. James Doyle rides him for the first time today. Gabrial’s Kaka has also won a big handicap this season when he took the Spring Cup at Newbury in April off 95 but his form has been mixed since then and he has been comfortably held off today’s mark of 103 on his last three starts. George Chaloner is drafted in to take 3lb off. I’m doubtful if that is enough. Parbold is one of just two three-year-olds and has a much better draw than Passing Star who is housed widest of all in stall 20. Three-year-olds have won three of the last seven runnings despite being notably outnumbered and Parbold also has course-winning form to his name having made a winning debut here. However, he has not won again in nine subsequent starts despite placing in three Group races as a two-year-old. In truth, Parbold has been a little disappointing this season despite almost winning a Listed race at Epsom and running well in another Listed event last time out as a horse of his talent should have registered more than one career win. This is his first handicap however in six starts and Paul Hanagan is reunited with him having finished a good third the only other time he got the leg up in a Group 2 last season. Top Notch Tonto was a revelation last season ending his campaign when second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes as a big outsider after being supplemented. He has been disappointing this season however and is now back in a handicap off top weight with Mikey Ennis helping by take 7lb off the top weight but I would have liked to have seen more from him and the ground may not be soft enough for him either looking at Day 1’s times (a course record in the Acomb).
Of the older horses (5+) drawn low, the one that makes most appeal is Balducci for the David O’Meara yard who won this handicap with a six-year-old last year. David Nolan got the fractions all wrong on him last time out haring off too quickly so put a line through that and instead judge him on two wins in his previous three starts under Danny Tudhope who is back in the saddle today. The ground is also in his favour if the rain stays away. His stablemate, Two For Two, was a close-up ninth behind Red Avenger in the Betfred Mile but was disappointing at the Shergar Cup meeting. Prince Of Johanne has a Cambridgeshire and Hunt Cup win to his name so he is a big handicap performer but he is too consistent for his own good these days and needs to be dropped a few more pounds to win another. He is likely to run well though. Boom And Bust and My Freedom have not looked in good enough form but Navajo Chief goes well at York (341504101) including a win in this very race three years ago. He also won at this season’s Dante Meeting but has posted two duck-eggs since.
Of those drawn in the higher half, Russian Realm has a chance for Stoute and Moore. He was a little disappointing when fourth as favourite at Sandown last time out sandwiched in between Gabrial’s Kaka and Prince Of Johanne and likewise when favourite for the Buckingham Palace Handicap but his Goodwood win back in May really caught the imagination. Maybe he wants some cut though like at Goodwood and for his two good seconds on his previous starts and it looked quick here on Day 1. Bronze Angel has a better chance though having won over course and distance in grand style before being badly drawn for two big handicaps on his next two starts where he had little chance as a result so to be beaten 2l in the Betfred Mile from the widest draw of all was a very fine run. He could be better drawn here as well but 12 isn’t a disaster by any means and he is only 5lb higher than for his last win. Short Squeeze is another course-and-distance winner having won the 3yo handicap at this meeting last year but he was well drawn in 5 that day and has been given stall 18 to overcome this time and he hasn’t shown that much in three starts this season. It could be this is the big plan of course given his win 12 months ago and the booking of Pat Smullen is eye catching. Laffan is the other horse drawn in the higher half I would respect, not least because he is trained by Tim Easterby who plots up horses for this meeting. He arrives here off a win too having struck with plenty to spare at Newcastle last month for which he has gone up 7lb but he wouldn’t have got in this race without such a raise.
CONCLUSION - three-year-olds have done well from limited runners so the well-drawn Parbold is of interest as is Red Avenger and Balducci with Bronze Angel the pick of those drawn in the higher half.
3:40 Darley Yorkshire Oaks
First run back in 1849, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks was opened up to older fillies and mares in 1992 since when three-year-olds lead their older rivals 12-10. You might want to think again however if you believe the Classic generation are therefore favoured as older fillies and mares have outnumbered three-year-olds just once in those 22 renewals (15 of which were won by a previous Group 1 winner) back in 1995 when Pure Grain was successful and three-year-olds have been responsible for just over twice as many runners (116-56) so it is the older fillies and mares that have the much superior strike rate. However, when a filly/horse is so much superior to their rivals, stats pretty much become irrelevant and Taghroodha can officially run 11lb below her best and still win if her rivals do not improve. I doubt most punters will be too interested in odds of around 2/7 though about the easy Oaks and King George winner and I will be looking to play in the without-favourite market. Taghroodha had Volume comfortably held in third at Epsom. I am little surprised if the Arc is indeed the plan that Taghroodha runs here rather than the Prix Vermeille as that is Sheikh Hamdan’s usual preferred route (and where he went with his other brilliant Oaks winner, Salsabil) so perhaps they didn’t fancy a potential tussle with Treve three weeks before her big Longchamp date?
You would think that the Investec Oaks is the obvious place to start for three-year-olds but the Epsom winner has a disappointing record since User Friendly completed the double in 1992 with as many as nine of the last 11 Epsom heroines to line up here for this Group 1 prize being beaten. So if you were looking to find one to beat Taghroodha, you have that fact on your side. Only Ramruma and Alexandrova have doubled up here since User Friendly in 1992 though the likes of Sun Princess, Circus Plume and Diminuendo completed the Epsom-York double in the 1980s but at a time when the race was restricted to three-year-olds. Defeated Oaks winners since the Yorkshire Oaks was opened up to older fillies and mares were Love Divine, Sariska (at 4/11) and Snow Fairy who finished second, Was, who finished third and the unplaced quintet of Reams Of Verse (at 4/7), Shahtoush, Kazzia, Casual Look and Eswarah. That said, seven of the last eight successful three-year-olds (Quiff being the other) did contest the Oaks. The three-year-old race to be most sceptical about from a trends perspective is the Ribblesdale Stakes in which Lustrous finished second as the last 12 winners of that Group 2 Royal Ascot contest to run in the Yorkshire Oaks going back to Hellenic who completed the double in 1990 have all finished unplaced. That’s unplaced, not win!
The Irish Oaks has actually been a better guide than its Epsom equivalent in more recent seasons with the likes of Pure Grain, Ramruma, Petrushka, Alexandrova, Peeping Fawn and Blue Bunting following up their Irish Oaks victory here since 1995. In fact, the last seven Irish Oaks winners to take their chance in the Yorkshire Oaks have finished first or second with five completing the double. This year’s Irish Oaks winner, Bracelet, doesn’t take her chance but the second and third, Tapestry and Volume, take each other on again. Only half a length covered the first three that day so there is little to choose between the pair. Key Change improved on her third placing at The Curragh to take the spoils in 1996 but, since her victory, placed fillies in the Irish Oaks have struggled with just three of the 14 to take their chance running into the frame. The latest of those was Venus De Milo last year who then finished a 4l second here to The Fugue and she returns to have another crack and will appreciate stepping back up to 1m4f having found the shorter trip over 1m2f a little too sharp for her in the Nassau Stakes. Apart from finishing second in this race last year and moving back up to her favoured trip, Venus De Milo is also interesting as Joseph O’Brien a little surprisingly rides her rather than Tapestry (Ryan Moore) which suggests that they expect the first-time hood to have an immediate impact. Prior to the Nassau, Venus De Milo was second to the now-retired Thistle Bird in the Pretty Polly Stakes, a race that has featured two recent Yorkshire Oaks winners. It is also worth bearing in mind that of the last ten older winners, five ran in the previous year’s running. Aidan O’Brien’s record up until 2007 was awful with not even a placed runner to show for his efforts but it is all change since then with Alexandrova and Peeping Fawn claiming successive victories in 2006/07.
With regards to the market, punters have been well on top as 13 of the last 16 winners could be found in the first two in the betting. Over a longer period of time, just two of the last 34 winners have been sent off at bigger than 10/1. Given the SP stats, it is not especially a surprise therefore that 14 of the last 16 winners had won already earlier in the season. On that basis it is hard to fancy last year’s Oaks winner, Talent, who is 0-3 for this season and who I felt would improve for the step up to 1m6f at Glorious Goodwood last time but she finished just outside the frame in a Group 3. History will tell us it was a poor Oaks that she won (she is officially bottom rated of today’s seven runners which underlines that point) and she has yet to rediscover the form of her second in the St Leger this season. Tasaday arrives here off a narrow win at this course in a Listed race for Saeed Bin Suroor but is better judged on two placed efforts in Group 1 races last autumn at Longchamp when trained by Andre Fabre which puts her in here as second-top rated. They were both achieved on a soft surface however and she tends to place in the best races (third in French 1000 Guineas, fourth in French Oaks, third in Prix Vermeille, second in Prix de l’Opera).
CONCLUSION - no opposing Taghroodha so I am looking at the betting-without-favourite market and with the quickening ground possibly going against Tasaday, I like Venus De Milo’ chances of finishing runner-up in this race for a second straight year now she returns to her favoured trip of 1m4f and tries a hood for the first time.
4:20 Sir Henry Cecil & EBF Galtres Stakes
A Listed race for fillies and mares over 1m4f who have not won a pattern race this season that has attracted ten runners and which honours Sir Henry Cecil for the first time features two interesting Irish raiders in the shape of Dark Crusader for Tony Martin and Starlet for Dermot Weld. The four-year-old, Dark Crusader, wears a hood for the first time and another first is the booking of Kieran Fallon. Only tenth when a leading fancy for the Northumberland Plate, her only subsequent start saw her finish second in a Group 3 at Cork dropping back down to this trip. She did win on her only start at York though when winning a handicap last year but you couldn’t say she is unexposed and they are the types that I prefer for this race in which three-year-olds have fared best lately. Starlet is likely to the sexy one for punters being so unexposed having just her third start and representing a stable whose rare runners in Britain are usually leapt on by punters, often to the point of being over-bet. By Sea The Stars like so many good fillies this season, she only made her debut in mid-June when second at Navan over 1m2f to a subsequent Listed race winner and stablemate before striking by 5l when upped to 1m4f at odds of 4/7 at Leopardstown. She was entitled to win after her main rival was a non-runner but she looked very useful and Weld commented afterwards she was black-type race class. The other very lightly raced contender from a big stable is Stella Bellissima for John Gosden who is so strong in the fillies department this season. After winning her debut she was thrown into the deep end heading straight for a Group 3 against seasoned older horses at Glorious Goodwood so she wasn’t disgraced in sixth behind Missunited beaten 8½l after being awkward leaving the stalls even if the market was very keen on her (started at 4/1). She will have learned from that and, back to a more conventional course, I will be surprised if she is not up to going very close back down to Listed status.
With regards to the non three-year-olds, top rated is Noble Protector but she does have a 4lb penalty to give away to all her rivals for winning a Listed race at Newmarket last time out. That was a convincing 5l success however so I wouldn’t put it beyond her giving weight away all round, I just prefer the more lightly-raced contenders open to most improvement. In addition to Dark Crusader, connections of Quiz Mistress are also trying headgear for the first time as blinkers have been declared for the oldest mare in the race by two years at the age of six so that is not my kind of profile. She has run well in defeat in better class races than this but is vulnerable to an improver. She has the same official rating of 99 as Waila but I prefer the Stoute-Moore representative of the pair who is more consistent and has only failed by less than a length on her last three starts including when a ¾l third behind Missunited at Goodwood last time when comfortably finishing ahead of Stella Bellissima over 1m6f. Her petrol just seemed to run out close home over 1m6f that day as it did over the same trip here on her previous start so this drop back to 1m4f looks the right move.
Of the three-year-olds not yet mentioned, Momentus is preferred to Arabian Comet, Queen Of Ice and Island Remede. Momentus was not disgraced at all when eighth of 17 in the Oaks on her third start before winning a Nottingham maiden as she was entitled to and she is open to more improvement. Arabian Comet finished just ahead of Waila at Goodwood last time when second to Missunited but, unlike the third, she was staying on well over 1m6f so I am not convinced that this drop in trip will suit her as much as Waila. Her stablemate, Queen Of Ice, has 14l to find with Noble Protector on Newmarket form last time out and Island Remede has twice finished behind Momentus this season including when eleventh in the Oaks.
CONCLUSION - I like the lightly-raced pair of Starlet and Stella Bellissima most and Waila makes place-only appeal given her recent consistency and dropping back in trip.
4:55 Eventmasters.co.uk EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap
A maximum-field 7f handicap closes proceedings with three-year-olds being responsible for 13 of the 20 runners. The draw should be important with those drawn high taking the wide route into the straight which comes not too far into the race so I am going to take the same line of thinking as the 1m handicap earlier on the card of looking at younger contenders drawn in the lower half first. We should of course, however, start with the top weight, Dutch Rose, given that she has won this race for the last two years for David O’Meara off 86 in 2012 and off 91 in 2013 and she has also since added another course win when successful here at the end of May off 98. Now she is asked to win off a handicap mark of 100 (beaten into sixth twice here since off 102) but is not badly drawn in stall 9. It may be a step too far this time.
The draw has been kind for Dermot Weld’s Sparkle Factor housed in stall 3. Beaten less than 2l in a Listed race last time out having previously won a handicap at The Curragh, she has to be near the top of anyone’s short list. Another well-drawn 3yo is Wedding Ring for Charlie Appleby and Richard Hughes in stall 7. Her last six starts in Britain have all been at Newmarket running well every time so she is a victim of her own consistency. Therefore a win bet may be ambitious but she has decent each-way claims. Belletriste also makes appeal drawn in stall 8 under her 6lb penalty for winning a conditions race in France 11 days ago (the rather grandly named Prix Sea Bird) in a great piece of placing from Sylvester Kirk after three defeats in maidens. She squeezes in off bottom weight here and, as we don’t have a great handle on the French form, there is a chance she could be very well treated under just a penalty.
The hat-trick chasing Jamesbo’s Girl, who races from 1lb out of the handicap, appeals as the best of the older fillies and has also been lucky with the draw in stall 4. After losing her form badly last summer, she was well handicapped if rediscovering her form which she has done with a vengeance and she is still 9lb below her career-best rating so she may well not have stop winning yet. Dusky Queen is a course-and-distance winner who has also fared well with the draw in stall 6 though she has lost her form a little since so maybe Richard Fahey’s other contender with Ryan Moore booked in stall 7, Dutch Courage, is more interesting now dropped down to handicaps for the first time this season. Moore was on board when she won a nursery at Newmarket last summer.
Of those drawn in the higher half, Bragging is the most fascinating being a three-year-old trained by Sir Michael Stoute who was unraced at two and won two of her four starts this season. Her latest win was last time out when an easy winner beating The Gold Cheongsam by 3¾l over this trip but she has been hit 10lb for that and James Doyle has his work cut out from stall 17. Meeting Waters is drawn widest of all in 20 of 20 which is a shame as she would have had a good each-way chance having found one too good on her last three starts. Ticking Katie has stall 16 to overcome but she is a course-and-distance winner here last month and has run a good second since.
CONCLUSION - not a race I am mad about and I will suggest a short list of Belletriste, Sparkle Factor and Dutch Courage.