BLETCHLEY (Best price 5-2) really appreciated the sixth furlong of the Albany Stakes and this switch to an even stiffer track than Ascot should play to her strengths too. Ralph Beckett’s filly finished to great effect that day and did all but overhaul Brave Anna having been held up in rear and that performance displayed a sound temperament and no little ability.
She is improving mentally with each start having looked very green and backward at Nottingham and she finished in front of some seemingly smart fillies last time so should go well here.
The loss of the French-bound Nemoralia from this event removes some of the glamour and the presence of the classy Usherette ensures the market has a one-sided look.
Andre Fabre’s charge is certain to dominate the betting as she did in an Ascot Group 2 last time when, after travelling strongly throughout, she was eased down to defeat Furia Cruzada at the line, with Always Smile back in third that day.
The runner-up has since gone close at Haydock and there is no doubt Usherette will be tough to beat but she faces last year’s winner Amazing Maria and perhaps more intriguingly ALICE SPRINGS (Best price 13-2) who arrives on the back of a fine run in the Coronation Stakes.
The selection didn’t enjoy the best of passages that day behind Qemah and had previously finished four lengths behind Minding in the Guineas. It has been a while since a 3yo has won this event but they possess a decent strike rate.
Banksea, a good winner at Pontefract, and High Grounds are both interesting here given their progressive profile, but there could be some value in ZODIAKOS (Best price 14-1) who steps up in trip after a promising run in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot where the ground was arguably too soft. The selection was a promising juvenile on good ground and, if conditions remain on the quick side, he can outrun his odds in a tricky race for punters.
MAYFAIR LADY (Best price 7-2) scorched to an impressive course and distance success on her reappearance and, if she remains in that frame of mind, could make the likes of La Rioja and Besharah struggle here.
Richard Fahey’s filly clocked a phenomenal speed figure on her return and clearly appears to have benefitted from the close season in terms of conditioning and maturity.
With conditions to suit she can bridge the gap from handicaps to pattern race company.
The 10 furlongs at Ayr appeared an insufficient test for CENTRAL SQUARE (Best price 2-1) last time and there could be more to come from this late developer now he steps up in trip again.
Owners Clipper Logistics love a winner on the Knavesmire and their son of Azamour looks to have been brought to a peak for a race like todays.
Tomorrow’s John Smith’s Cup was the primary destination for Roger Varian’s charge but he is diverted to this event instead and should go well given his profile remains on an upward trajectory.