However, La Rioja chased a frenetic early gallop at Haydock and didn’t find the clearest of passages when Quiet Reflection quickened down the outside so she could close the gap today and her stable were very quiet at that stage of the season – they have had winners since. The selection was entitled to need the run and it is worth recalling how dominant she was on soft ground at Salisbury last term so with that in mind she looks worth playing each-way against the most likely winner.
She could well land another prestigious Group One, hot on the heels of an Irish Guineas win which saw her see off star filly Minding, however that was a hard race and a series of touch asks may catch up with her this afternoon.
Jean-Claude Rouget sent out Ervedya to win this event 12 months ago and he could have another live contender in QEMAH (Best price 6-1) who is another that won’t mind if the ground deteriorates with showers today. The daughter of Danehill Dancer bolted up on her reappearance in Chantilly and looked likely to follow up in the French Guineas at the furlong marker before her run flattened out. The return to a turning track should suit today and she arrives fresher than some of her rivals.
The lack of significant rain is a slight drawback given that he copes with deep conditions so well, but there should still be enough moisture in the ground and his figures on good to soft or softer read 2231131.
Elite Army is yet to taste defeat in two trips to Ascot and he warmed up for a hat-trip bid with a narrow defeat of Scotland here last time on fast ground. He is one for the shortlist but it could be worth taking a chance with the enigmatic Ajman Bridge (Best price 16-1) who was second in this race last year and has the blinkers back on today.
EBEDIYIN (Best price 4-1) also has to be on any shortlist given the record his handler has with stayers and he won with plenty in hand at Naas on easy ground last time. He looks the type of grinder that should be well suited by the rigours of the race and, while he isn’t the bet of the century at the morning odds, gains the vote in a tricky finale.
Read Sam Turner's tips in the Daily Mail everyday or at www.dailymail.co.uk/racing