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jamesp
16 May 21 09:38
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Date Joined: 05 Jan 02
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It's far too early, of course, to be even thinking of next year's classics, and traditionally bookmakers don't even start to price up horses for the Guineas before Royal Ascot, but I thought it would be worth starting a new thread to note fillies who are already showing considerable promise. Top of the list, and the only one to have made a big impression so far, is Contarelli Chapel. Aidan O'Brien's filly looked a bit green and wayward on her debut at Naas, but once she got the hang of things she sprinted clear to win a 6f fillies' maiden by a wide margin (the third has won since). That maiden race has been won in recent years by the likes of Roly Poly (2016), Alpha Centauri (2017) and Fairyland (2018), all of whom went on to score at the highest level. She won that maiden race more impressively than any of those other recent winners of the race, she reappears at Naas this afternoon in the Gr.3 Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes, where she is a long odds-on favourite, and it will be a major surprise if she fails to take the step up in class in her stride. She's by Caravaggio out of the Sadler's Wells mare Chenchikova (a full sister to High Chaparral), which makes her a half-sister to dual Gr.1 10f winner Fancy Blue and 12f winner Casterton. It remains to be seen what her trip will be this season, but there is plenty of stamina on the dam's side of the family and she's a good-sized filly who should continue to progress. A very promising filly.

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Replies: 129
By:
FOYLESWAR
When: 16 May 21 11:20
there was a stat anything that had run as early as royal ascot had not won a guineas for years big negative ,mother earth broke that stat this year so that wont harm contarellis chance james ,by the way james do you bet in the colts classic and other classics ?
By:
jamesp
When: 16 May 21 14:38
There was a period when that stat was valid for the 1000 Guineas, FOYLESWAR, but remarkably five of the six most recent winners of the race (Mother Earth, Love, Billesdon Brook, Winter and Minding) had already run before Royal Ascot in their juvenile season. Mind you, most of them hadn't made much of an impression on debut - in fact, all of them were beaten first time out! Impressive debut performances are not always what one should be looking for in potential Guineas winners.

To answer your other question, I do sometimes bet on other classic races, but I have generally found that fillies' races tend to be less competitive than colts' equivalents, with fewer potential top class performers to keep on the radar. The 1000 Guineas has always appealed as an antepost betting race because of the importance of juvenile form, but it has become increasingly difficult in recent years due to the dominance of the Ballydoyle outfit and the terribly poor-value odds quoted by bookmakers (compared with when I started betting on the race about 30 years ago).
By:
jamesp
When: 16 May 21 15:49
Contarelli Chapel sank without trace this afternoon at odds of 2/7, finishing tired and onepaced in fourth behind a 50/1 newcomer. Perhaps the soft ground found her out (she won on good ground previously), but it was a puzzling performance nonetheless - seemingly too bad to be true. Royal Ascot plans for this one will surely have to be revised.
By:
jamesp
When: 16 May 21 15:55
A day of shocks: how on earth Coeursamba won the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (the French Guineas) this afternoon at 66/1 (with a 100/1 shot in third), I'll never know. She has seemingly improved out of all recognition: she was consistently well beaten in Group company last season (including by several of today's rivals), and was only third in a conditions race on her seasonal debut. Results like that make one wonder why one bothers to study the formbook.
By:
FOYLESWAR
When: 16 May 21 17:04
i have found studying form /times etc too confusing s and misleading.  what i look for around january /feb is a "type " on  breeding /connections etc form does play a part obviously but not as great as it once did ,a lot knock ballydoyle but its the 1st place to look for a gns filly you could say you are half way there as you can often whittle their fillys down to a few who you can be sure are targeting the race .  going by the last 3 years a certain trend is emerging with the coolmore fillies .
By:
jamesp
When: 17 May 21 17:31
Fozzy Stack's filly Hermana Estrella, who sprang the 50/1 surprise (though not to the trainer or jockey) at Naas yesterday, has reportedly come out of the race well and is under consideration for either the Gr.3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Gr.2 Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh on 27 June.

The trainer reported: "She'd been working well at home. She hasn't been away to work or anything and hasn't even worked on grass, so it was actually a very good performance. She'd shown plenty of talent at home. If it hadn't worked out we'd have been left with egg on our face if she'd run very green, but it worked out well. She's a smart filly. Royal Ascot would be a possibility, or maybe the race on Derby weekend here. It will be the Albany or that race, I'd imagine. We'll take our time and talk to connections and see what everybody wants to do. She gets six furlongs well, so the soft ground in Naas might have helped on that front, but I don't think she needs it soft. I'd like to think she could step up in trip for something like the Moyglare later in the season."

On breeding it's hard to know whether she'll get a mile later on: she's by the sprinter Starspangledbanner out of an unraced half-sister to the fairly useful dual Gr.3 7f winner Lady Springbank. Judging from her Naas run, she looks like she will get 7f this season.
By:
jamesp
When: 18 May 21 15:14
Staying with the Irish fillies for the moment, I must flag up Discoveries, trained by Jessie Harrington. She's a full sister to multiple Gr.1 winner Alpha Centauri and half-sister to Gr.1 winner Alpine Star (both won the Gr.1 Coronation Stakes), so she's bred to be a top class miler. She has yet to make her debut: she has been entered in the Gr.3 Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday, a sign of the high regard in which she is clearly held, but a more likely and suitable target is the 6f fillies' maiden at the same course on Sunday.
By:
jamesp
When: 23 May 21 10:50
A filly I'm very much looking forward to seeing again is Roger Charlton's first two year old runner of the season Silver Bullet Lady, who won a 5f fillies' conditions race at Salisbury on 1000 Guineas day, despite appearing to completely blow her chance at the start by diving to the left from her outside draw. Having been slowly away, she was out the back and green before gradually working her way into the contest, she made good progress to lead towards the finish and she won quite comfortably in the end. Considering how much ground she lost at the start, she did very well to beat two previous winners (the third has also gone on to win next time) and will be seen to much better advantage over 6f next time. She's the first winner for first-season sire Decorated Knight (triple Gr.1 winner at 10f) out of a dam who stayed a mile (and was related to a host of 8-10f performers), so it's remarkable that she was able to win over the minimum 5f trip. The Salisbury race has been won by some smart performers in recent years including Gr.1 winner Tiggy Wiggy (also Guineas-placed), Gr.2 winner (Gr.1 placed) Illuminate and Gr.3 winner (Gr.2 placed) Good Vibes, and I think this year's winner could be quite smart.
Here's a link to a recording of the race: https://www.racingtv.com/videos/watch/horse_racing_replays/327547-ajn-steelstock-real-steel-fillies-conditions-stakes-3
By:
jamesp
When: 23 May 21 10:51
https://www.racingtv.com/videos/watch/horse_racing_replays/327547
By:
jamesp
When: 23 May 21 10:58
Post-race comments on Silver Bullet Lady:

"A crack at the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot could be on the cards for Silver Bullet Lady", Harry Charlton told Racing TV. "I think Hollie and I thought we were going to be in trouble after a furlong having jumped left like that. "From then on, you’re constantly trying to lay up with them, and there’s some fair winners in there. She made up a lot of ground from the three to the two and I thought she might be third and have run well. But Hollie said she picked up again – it’s very exciting. It’s very encouraging for Decorated Knight – he’s obviously got an incredible pedigree so it’s no surprise that he could produce one. She’s always shown a lot of ability. I think Royal Ascot has to be considered and the Queen Mary could be one to look at."

Hollie Doyle was equally impressed, saying: "Silver Bullet Lady was very impressive today… once she got into the stride of things and hit the cutaway she showed a great turn of foot to make up a lot of ground. Obviously being Decorated Knight’s first runner in the UK, it’s a great stamp for him and she definitely looks like she has Royal Ascot potential."
By:
jamesp
When: 08 Jun 21 16:39
Latest figures for the top-rated juvenile fillies so far this season, courtesy of the Racing Post:
98 Diablotine (H. de Nicolay) -11
97 Hermana Estrella (J. Stack) -1
96 Nymphadora (A. Balding) -61
96 Hello You (R. Beckett) -1
95 Flotus (S. & E. Crisford) -1
94 Quick Suzy (G. Cromwell) -212
94 Beautiful Sunshine (G. Boughey) -811
92 Contarelli Chapel (A. O'Brien) -14
91 Juncture (G. Lyons) -21
90 Tenebrism (A. O'Brien) -1
90 Mountain Madness (L. Gadbin) -1
90 Yet (A. O'Brien) -1
89 Cachet (G. Boughey) -1

Diablotine has chalked up a couple of comfortable 5f wins on soft/heavy ground in France but has prospects of getting further, being by Kodi Bear out of a winning miler, and she stretched out well on both occasions (latterly in a Listed race at Vichy), shaping as though 6f+ will suit: she looks quite a smart prospect.

Fozzy Stack's filly Hermana Estrella sprang a surprise in a Gr.3 at Naas first time out (see above) and is likely to contest the top 6/7f fillies' races this season: it's hard to know at this stage how far she will stay (being by sprinter Starspangledbanner). She's highly regarded and obviously has a lot of class.

Hello You bolted up in a Wolverhampton 6f event on debut, winning by an impressive 6½ lengths (the fourth won next time). She's by Invincible Spirit out of a modest 7f performer by Pivotal. Ralph Beckett reported afterwards: "I was delighted with that. I thought she’d run well, but it looked a warm race beforehand. I thought she’d go close, but there was plenty of money for other horses. It was more than we expected, obviously – not too many win like that on on debut. She appears to have taken the race well, so we’ll give ourselves three weeks to get to Ascot. That straight track normally rides quick, but I think she’ll handle it fine."

Flotus made an impressive winning debut at Goodwood, travelling well and quickening up in the style of a smart filly to win by nearly 5 lengths. The form may not amount to much, but she looks destined for pattern races from now on. She's a Starspangledbanner half-sister to a two mile winner, so it's anyone's guess what her trip will turn out to be: she got 6f well on debut and shapes as though 7f will be within compass, but there's plenty of speed in the pedigree.

Contarelli Chapel flopped (relatively speaking) on her second start (see above), but it's worth noting that the runner-up in the maiden race she won so impressively has since gone on to land what looked quite a hot maiden at Leopardstown (see Juncture below).

Juncture showed the benefit of her debut run behind Contarelli Chapel when scoring by 3 lengths in a 7f fillies' maiden at Leopardstown recently. This race has thrown up some smart performers in recent years: Cayenne Pepper had subsequent classic winner Love back in fourth when winning this race in 2019 and went on to win at Gr.2 level and was runner-up in the Irish Oaks; September, the 2017 winner, was later beaten by a nose in the Gr.1 Fillies' Mile; the 2013 winner Bracelet later won the Gr.2 Ribblesdale and Gr.1 Irish Oaks. This year's winner is by Dark Angel out of a half-sister to Gr.1 winner Promising Lead. The fillies that chased her home should also be worth following: Radiyka (D. Weld) is a daughter of Gr.2 winner Raydara; Discoveries (J. Harrington) is a sister to multiple Gr.1 winner Alpha Centauri; and Madonnadelrosario (A. O'Brien) is a half-sister to Gr.1 Prix Morny winner The Wow Signal. The form should work out well.

Tenebrism won a 5f Naas maiden at the end of March (this year's 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare won the same maiden race in 2020), despite things not going entirely to plan (started awkwardly, in rear, ran green, but quickened up smartly to win by nearly 4 lengths). She might not be simply a fast early two-year-old, as she's by Caravaggio out of dual Gr.1 winning miler Immortal Verse. She looks a good prospect.

Mountain Madness scooted up in a Chantilly 6f maiden, winning by 8 lengths despite showing some greenness and a slightly high head carriage when asked to quicken. She holds an entry for the Gr.3 Prix du Bois over 6f later this month. Ludovic Gadbin's filly is by Territories out of a 9f winner and should get a mile eventually.

Yet won narrowly on debut at Dundalk, but she and the well fancied runner-up pulled more than 7 lengths clear of the other runners. Considering she's by War Front out of a half-sister to Giant's Causeway, it's remarkable that she managed to win over the minimum trip and she looks one to follow from the all-conquering Ballydoyle stable. The runner-up Orinoco River (D. O'Brien), by War Front out of a Montjeu mare, should get a mile later on and also rates a smart prospect.

Cachet beat a previous winner when scoring by 5 lengths at Newmarket on debut for George Boughey. She's by Aclaim (high-class at 6½-8f, winner of the Gr.1 Prix de la Foret) out of a Teofilo mare (placed over 12f). She's well regarded and reportedly being aimed at the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

On a slightly lower rating (86) Prettiest was another recent debut winner for Aidan O'Brien, scoring in a slow time over an extended 5f at Navan. The placed horses had both run well previously, and the form has a solid look to it. The winner is by Dubawi out of triple Gr.1 winner Alice Springs, so she's bred to be smart next year over longer trips.
By:
jamesp
When: 14 Jun 21 15:32
I've had a quick look through the declared runners in this week's Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes, not in terms of trying to pick the winner (which looks a far from straightforward task) but in terms of Guineas potential.

First, I was expecting to find that the Wesley Ward-trained favourite Twilight Gleaming would have the typical profile of one of the stable's whizz-bang speedsters, but although she was a wide-margin winner over 5f in the States, she's actually bred to get quite a lot further, being by National Defense (top juvenile miler) from a strong staying family (going back to Ribblesdale winner Phantom Gold), so there's every chance on breeding that she might eventually get a mile. However, the trainer's previous Queen Mary fillies have not turned out to be Guineas types. The other US-trained runner Artos is by speed influence Kodiac out of a 10f winner and is best watched.

Nymphadora, Quick Suzy and Beautiful Sunshine have all shown a useful level of form but are all speedily bred and unlikely to develop into milers later on. Desert Dreamer is by Oasis Dream out of a Montjeu mare and has already won over 6f and shapes like she'll get further: she's two from two, but much more is needed here. Illustrating is highly regarded by trainer Karl Burke and won nicely at Catterick: she showed lots of speed to win over 5f, but she's out of Coronation Stakes winner and Guineas runner-up Maids Causeway, so it'll be interesting to see how she gets on when stepped up in trip later on.

The Irish runners Yet and Orinoco River are fascinating contenders, as neither is bred to be effective over the minimum trip, yet they fought out the finish of a 5f Dundalk maiden (see comments in my earlier post). Yet is certainly bred to get at least a mile later on, being by War Front out of Butterflies (mile winner at two, stayed 12f at three), so if she can finish close up in a Queen Mary she could well have Guineas potential.

Finally, a quick word about the Coventry favourite Kaufymaker: it's unusual for a filly to take on the colts in this race, even more unusual for a filly to be antepost favourite, but Wesley Ward's filly showed loads of speed to win easily over 4½f and one presumes she'll always be best at sprint trips.
By:
jamesp
When: 14 Jun 21 15:46
PS It's interesting that Wesley Ward has chosen to run his filly Ruthin in the Windsor Castle Stakes on Wednesday rather than the Queen Mary (where she might have had a favourite's chance). The usual reservations apply regarding long-term prospects for this stable's juvenile fillies, but this one looks interesting on paper, being by top miler Ribchester out of 6-8f winner Selinka (by Selkirk), and she beat Artos (Frankie Dettori's mount in the Queen Mary) by 6 lengths over 5½f at Keeneland. She showed so much speed on that occasion that it's hard to imagine her getting much beyond 6f later on, despite her pedigree.
By:
jamesp
When: 26 Jun 21 13:58
Did the Royal Ascot juvenile races provide any pointers to the 1000 Guineas? I suspect the answer is probably no. The fillies that finished prominently in the Queen Mary (including the winner Quick Suzy) are all speedily bred and highly unlikely to develop into milers. Cheerupsleepyjean, who finished well for third (having dwelt at the start), has the chance to pick up winning black type in tomorrow's Gr.2 Airlie Stud Stakes over 6f at the Curragh, for which there is a poor turn-out of just five fillies, including Yet, who made a promising winning debut at Dundalk but has 10 lengths to find with Cheerupsleepyjean on Queen Mary running. But Fozzy Stack's filly is by Starspangledbanner out of a speedily bred mare and her future probably lies over sprint distances.

The Albany Stakes may have revealed one or two Guineas prospects, though the winner and the fillies that filled the places will need to find about 10-14lbs improvement before they can be considered classic contenders. The winner Sandrine clearly has a fair bit of class, finished strongly and looks a decent prospect, but I wouldn't be confident about her getting a mile next year: she's by the unproven sire Bobby's Kitten (a Breeders Cup Turf Sprint winner) out of a 6-7f winner from the family of sprinter Starlit Sands. Runner-up Hello You raced keenly and prominently, led over 2f out but was unable to hold off the strong finishing winner: by Invincible Spirit out of a 7f winner (dam is half-sister to smart sprinter Signs Of Blessing), her future too probably lies over distances short of a mile. The third Oscula, who had shown plenty of speed in two previous 6f wins, kept on well and might be worth a try over 7f, but has had a few races already and perhaps lacks a bit of class. Perhaps of greater interest is Aidan O'Brien's filly Prettiest, who came from some way back, showed signs of greenness and stayed on well, beaten only two lengths: she's the likeliest of these to get a mile next year and is classily bred (by Dubawi out of triple Gr.1 winning miler Alice Springs), and she's undoubtedly the one to take out of this contest at this stage. The form received a bit of a boost when Cachet ran well in today's Empress Stakes (Listed) at Newmarket, beaten a length in a competitive renewal.

Latest RPR ratings for the top-rated fillies:

106    Quick Suzy (G.Cromwell)        -2121    (won Ascot 5f Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes by 1¼l)
106    Sandrine (A.Balding)         -11     (won Ascot 6f Gr.3 Albany Stakes by 1½l)   
102    Hello You (R.Beckett)        -12    (2nd in Ascot 6f Gr.3 Albany Stakes, btn 1½l)
101    Twilight Gleaming (W.Ward)    -212    (2nd in Ascot 5f Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes, btn 1¼l)
100    Hermana Estrella (J.Stack)    -1    (won Naas 6f Gr.3 Coolmore Stud Stakes by 1l)
100    Oscula (G.Boughey)        -3113    (3rd in Ascot 6f Gr.3 Albany Stakes, btn 2l)
100    Prettiest (A.O’Brien)        -14    (4th in Ascot 6f Gr.3 Albany Stakes, btn 2l)
98    Diablotine (H.de Nicolay)    -11    (won Vichy 5f listed race by 2½l)
95    Cheerupsleepyjean (J.Stack)    -163    (3rd in Ascot 5f Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes, btn 3l)
By:
elisjohn
When: 09 Jul 21 13:32
sandrine impressive there, but as james p says  i wouldnt be confident of the mile at all
By:
jamesp
When: 10 Jul 21 11:55
Yesterday's Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes didn't tell us a lot more than we had already learned from the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, the form of which was well represented with a rematch between the Albany 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and the well regarded Flotus resuming rivalry). Winner Sandrine proved that she is very versatile ground-wise and showed plenty of speed to take the lead under 2f out and kept on well to score comfortably, extending her Albany superiority over Hello You (pulled hard) to 2¼l. She is reportedly likely to be kept to 6f this season, with the Gr.1 Cheveley Park Stakes a probable end-of-season target, so we may not get a chance to assess her stamina for 7f or a mile. As previously mentioned, she is quite speedily bred and I'm not convinced that she's a Guineas winner in the making. The form looks on a par with the Albany Stakes (RPR 106). Hello You and Flotus both pulled hard and need to learn to settle better: they are both speedy types and likely to be kept to sprint distances. The well backed Desert Dreamer was nice and relaxed in the paddock and stepped up on her Empress Stakes form, once again finishing strongly in the final half furlong, shaping as though an extra furlong will suit. Oscula, by contrast, was 'warm in the prelims', drifted in the betting, and ran a lifeless sort of race: she does not appear to be progressing.

With the Albany Stakes form franked by the performance of Sandrine (and to some extent also by the third Hello You, who finished well clear of the remainder), I checked prices for the Guineas - Sandrine 16/1, Hello You 33/1, Prettiest 40/1 - and decided to have a speculative bet (my first on next year's Guineas) on Prettiest at 40/1 (enhanced to 45/1) here with Betfair Sportsbook. Unusually for an Aidan O'Brien-trained filly, that looked too good a price to miss. She's a lovely looking filly with a good temperament, and on breeding she's bred to be smart (by Dubawi out of Gr.1 winner Alice Springs). She looks sure to improve when stepped up to 7f and a mile - it will be interesting to see whether she takes the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes / Gr.2 Debutante Stakes / Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes route - and should have loads of improvement to come. She finished well in the Albany Stakes (beaten a couple of lengths), coped well with the undulations of Navan first time out and should handle the Rowley Mile.
By:
jamesp
When: 13 Jul 21 09:50
It turns out that Contarelli Chapel chipped a knee on her last start at Naas, which explains her disappointing performance there (following a scintillating debut victory). She had been earmarked for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, but the injury forced a change of plan:

“We had Contarelli Chapel in mind for the Albany Stakes, but she chipped a knee in her last start and isn’t going to make it to Royal Ascot,” said O’Brien. “(Prettiest) was coming along lovely and always showed plenty, so we said we’d start her off a bit earlier than we’d originally planned just to see if she could slot into that gap in the Albany. We expected her to need the run quite badly, but she was very professional and won nicely at Navan. She was getting a little bit tired close home, but she was entitled to as she hadn’t had a big prep for it. She’s a very natural filly and when you ask her for more, she really puts her head down and tries.”

Since O’Brien notes that Prettiest wasn’t fully cranked for her debut victory at Navan and was geared up earlier than planned to pursue Royal Ascot, this suggests we might not see the best of her until later in the year.
By:
jamesp
When: 16 Jul 21 13:48
Entries have been published for the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown next week. This is a key trial for the Gr.2 Debutante Stakes and Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, and the race has thrown up a number of classic winners and other Gr.1 winners in recent years, including Miss Beatrix (won Gr.1 Moyglare), Saoirse Abu (won Gr.1 Phoenix Stakes and Gr.1 Moyglare, third in 1000 Guineas), Together (runner-up in three Gr.1 races including 1000 Guineas), Maybe (won Gr.1 Moyglare, Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac, third in 1000 Guineas), La Collina (won Gr.1 Phoenix), Qualify (won the Oaks), Alice Springs (multiple Gr.1 winner at three), Intricately (won Gr.1 Moyglare), Happily (won Gr.1 Moyglare, Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac, third in 1000 Guineas), Skitter Scatter (won Gr.1 Moyglare), Love (multiple Gr.1 winner including 1000 Guineas and Oaks), Shale (won Gr.1 Moyglare), Pretty Gorgeous (won Gr.1 Fillies' Mile), Snowfall (won the Oaks). A number of those fillies were beaten in the Silver Flash, underlining the fact that mere participation in the race tends to indicate the high regard in which the fillies are usually held, and several participants ended up being strong fancies for the Guineas (Maybe 13/8 fav, Happily 11/4 fav, Love 4/1, Pretty Gorgeous N/R), even though only one of those actually won the Guineas. Any fancied runners trained by Aidan O'Brien should be given serious consideration as potential classic contenders.

This year's renewal features just two representatives from the Aidan O'Brien stable, both stepping up from 6f: Prettiest (close fourth in the Gr.3 Albany Stakes) and Yet (runner-up in the Gr.2 Airlie Stud Stakes). Yet remains a promising filly, despite her poor unplaced effort in the Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes, but her better effort last time came in a slowly run small-field affair (no match for the comfortable winner Velocidad) and she hasn't done enough so far to suggest that she could be a Guineas filly in the making. It is offputting that she has also been given an entry in a 5f Listed race at Naas next week, which suggests that they're not quite sure what her best trip will turn out to be (despite her pedigree suggesting that she should get a mile+). Prettiest (my first bet on next year's Guineas at 45/1) brings arguably the strongest form following her very decent staying-on effort in the Albany Stakes, and if she improves for the step up to 7f she will be hard to beat.

Possible opponents include the following: Sablonne (J.Harrington) (half-sister to the dam of Sandrine, holds entries in Debutante/Moyglare: green when third on debut over 6f behind quite smart winner Sacred Bridge); Honey Sweet (K.Burke) (beaten 5 lengths by Sandrine in Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, outpaced, stayed on); Juncture (G.Lyons) (from the family of Gr.1 winner Promising Lead and Gr.1-placed Visit, holds entries in Debutante/Moyglare, impressive maiden winner over C&D at the start of June, form franked by subsequent wins by the third and fourth); Seisai (J.O'Brien) (holds entries in Debutante/Moyglare, comfortable maiden winner at Gowran following debut third behind Juncture); Pennine Hills (J.O'Brien) (comfortable Fairyhouse 6f maiden winner on debut, showing lots of speed, holds an alternative entry in a 5f Listed race); Agartha (J.O'Brien) (well regarded filly, placed behind some smart types in all four races to date, holds alternative entry in Listed race at Sandown next week). The other entries Almohandesah (K.Burke) (narrow winner at Pontefract), Butterfly Island (D.Weld) (narrowly beaten in an auction maiden over C&D, giving weight), Hymn Book Too (J.Bolger) (half-sister to Dawn Approach but well beaten in both starts to date) and Que Linda (J.O'Brien) (well beaten ninth on debut) have plenty of improvement to find.

Juncture looks a smart filly in the making and rates the main danger to my main fancy Prettiest in a potentially informative race.
By:
jamesp
When: 16 Jul 21 15:11
The Star Stakes (Listed) at Sandown rarely produces fillies capable of competing at the highest level, with the notable exception of subsequent shock 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook, who finished third in this Listed contest in 2017. The best winners of this race in the last 15 years have been Muthabara (won the Gr.3 Fred Darling Stakes, unplaced but only beaten three lengths in 1000 Guineas), Fireglow (fourth in 1000 Guineas, RPR 110) and Fev Rover (won Gr.2 Prix du Calvados, third in 1000 Guineas, RPR 110). Next week's race looks a potentially above average renewal, with nine last-time-out winners among the 16 entries.

The most immediately eye-catching entry is the Crisfords' filly Daneh, who showed a smart turn of foot to win impressively at Kempton on her racecourse debut (six ran, slowish winning time): she's bred to be smart, being by Dubawi out of Gr.1 Coronation Stakes winner Rizeena, and could be the proverbial 'anything'. Inspiral, representing the Gosdens, also caught the eye when landing a Newmarket 7f maiden (the tried and tested route for many smart Gosden fillies in the past), running on well to score comfortably after a sluggish start (runner-up won next time and could re-oppose): by Frankel out of the very useful Starscope (runner-up in 1000 Guineas and Gr.1 Coronation Stakes, RPR 110), she's bred to be capable of taking a race of this class. Allayaali (C.Hills), a half-sister to Irish 1000 Guineas winner Just The Judge, won narrowly on debut at Doncaster and can progress if learning to settle better (took a keen hold). Wild Beauty (C.Appleby), a Frankel filly out of a useful 7-8f winner, has comfortably landed her last two starts, a maiden and a novice event (both on soft ground), and is clearly ready for the step up in grade. Oscula has performed creditably in Group company, finishing behind Sandrine in both the Gr.3 Albany Stakes and the Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, and should be competitive if improving for the step up in trip. Similarly, Cachet and Honey Sweet have shown enough at Group level over 6f (behind Sandrine) to suggest they can go well in this company.
By:
jamesp
When: 20 Jul 21 09:58
There are just five runners in the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes on Thursday: Agartha, Juncture, Prettiest, Sablonne, Seisai. Juncture holds Seisai on earlier C&D maiden form, and Prettiest holds Agartha on Navan maiden form. Agartha finished in front of Sablonne in a Naas maiden, but the latter was making her debut and ran green on that occasion. I'm hoping for a smart performance from Prettiest in what looks a good quality renewal of this Gr.3 race, but I'm aware that several of Aidan O'Brien's juveniles have failed to live up to expectations in recent weeks, and Juncture looks a smart prospect.
By:
jamesp
When: 20 Jul 21 13:50
Silver Flash Stakes: Hills bet 4/6 Prettiest, 9/4 Juncture, 9 Seisai, 12 Sablonne, 18 Agartha.
By:
JayTrumpOldTomDubbl
When: 20 Jul 21 15:20
Yes indeed jamesp a smart performance required.
I remember a few years back I felt certain I had
the right 2yr old from these quarters, and racetrack
evidence to support my belief, until Minding came along.
My one I felt was sacrificed. Ballydoyle was her name.
By:
jamesp
When: 20 Jul 21 17:08
Ballydoyle was a smart filly in her own right, winning the Gr.2 Debutante Stakes (by 2 lengths from Minding) and Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac in a very good two year old season; in between those two performances, Minding beat her in the Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on yielding ground which may not have suited her ideally. In most years she would have been good enough to win the Guineas, she was just unlucky to come up against an even smarter filly on Guineas day. Mind you, I thought she was a little bit unlucky in the Guineas (short of room at a crucial stage) and Heffernan didn't give her the best of rides (held up un rear, whereas she had been prominent in her best performances as a juvenile). I backed her for the Guineas on the strength of her Debutante Stakes win (she was just 10/1 after that performance) and later added Minding after the Moyglare (at 14/1). Whether Prettiest turns out to be as good as either of those fillies remains to be seen...
By:
JayTrumpOldTomDubbl
When: 22 Jul 21 23:01
A smart performance we did not get. A strange race with the two fancied ones Prettiest and Juncture failing to fire.
Prettiest was kept out the back and never looked likely. Never got involved really. If she was from any other yard
one might say that's as good as she is. Maybe it is. But you do not know with this yard. Love won this race the
'Silver Flash', but blotted her copybook more than once as a 2yr old. Love turned up at the Curragh for the 'Moyglare' and narrowly
won that 6/1 S.P. Better available on the day. Kate was not overly impressed with Prettiest in the paddock and
Gary said something like maybe a 'growth spurt'. Hard to tell but I will hold onto my wee voucher. For another
while. Looking forward to the experts views.
By:
jamesp
When: 23 Jul 21 08:32
A truly disappointing performance by the odds-on favourite Prettiest in yesterday's Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes. It does not bode well for her prospects of succeeding at the highest level: although it's true that several fillies (Miss Beatrix, Saoirse Abu, La Collina, Qualify, Alice Springs, Intricately, Pretty Gorgeous, Snowfall) have been beaten in this race in recent years and still gone on to Group 1 success, the only one of those to have finished as far behind as Prettiest was Snowfall (beaten 5 lengths in last year's Silver Flash), but the latter has shown enormous improvement for the step up to middle distances this season. Initially I was struggling to find an explanation for this lacklustre performance: it was her first run on fast ground, she was held up in last (whereas she had made all when winning her maiden at Navan), she never really travelled or looked happy in the race, some of the stable's fancied juveniles such as Heart To Heart, Maddonadelrosario and Pimlico have performed well below expectations in recent weeks, and perhaps she is just not progressing. Then it emerged that the vet reported the filly to be showing signs of being in season post race, which could well explain why she failed to fire on this occasion (and might also explain the paddock comments). Prior to yesterday's race Prettiest had looked the most promising of the Aidan O'Brien juvenile fillies, based on her Albany performance at Royal Ascot and the likelihood that she would improve on better ground and for a step up in trip, so I'm hoping that this was just a blip and she can show herself in her true colours later in the year.

Yesterday's winner Agartha has always been held in high regard by Joseph O'Brien despite having failed to break her duck in four attempts in smart maiden company (including when beaten by Prettiest at Navan) and there didn't seem to be any element of fluke about her victory. She seems to be progressing well and it was a smart performance (winning time was only fractionally slower than Point Lonsdale in the Tyros Stakes on the same card). She will presumably now head for the Gr.2 Debutante Stakes next month, where one imagines that Juncture may take her on again, and it will take a smart one to beat her there. Juncture had looked a smart prospect when winning her maiden by 3 lengths at Leopardstown, where she had an experience advantage over the placed fillies (the third Seisai and fourth Discoveries both won next time to frank the form), and she may yet have more to offer.
By:
jamesp
When: 23 Jul 21 09:07
In terms of 1000 Guineas prospects, the stand-out performance yesterday was Inspiral's impressive 3½ lengths win in the Star Stakes (Listed) at Sandown. This race rarely has any significant bearing on the 1000 Guineas, with the recent exception of Billesdon Brook, who managed to get narrowly beaten in what at the time looked a substandard renewal of this race in 2017 before springing a massive surprise in the 1000 Guineas in 2018. But Inspiral looked a well above average winner, making up ground with ease before quickening away in the style of a very smart filly, despite still looking a bit green in the middle of the race. One shouldn't get too carried away, however, as the placed fillies were officially rated 89 and 90 respectively, with Sunstrike having finished unplaced (beaten more than 6 lengths) behind Sandrine in the Gr.3 Albany Stakes at Ascot. Unfortunately I missed the post-race quotes of 33/1 for the Guineas (which can't have lasted more than a few minutes) and 25/1 (which seems to have been available with Hills for about half an hour before they slashed the price to 10/1). The current quotes of 10/1 and 12/1 with the 'big three' are ridiculously short at this stage, and even the more generally available 16/1 (Power, Betfair, BV) is too short for me at this stage. She now heads the Guineas betting alongside Sandrine.

Timeform had been very impressed with Inspiral's maiden victory at Newmarket, noting in their preview of the Star Stakes: "Inspiral (106P) sets the standard on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings after making a successful debut at Newmarket last month, an impressive performance which earned her the ‘Horse In Focus’ Flag to highlight that she is a filly to keep on the right side. Held up in the early stages after a slow start, she travelled strongly and made good headway two furlongs out before briefly running green. The most striking aspect of her performance was how well she picked up at the end of a steadily-run race, earning a huge sectional upgrade – and the ‘Sectional’ Flag – as she quickened to lead in the final 50 yards, ultimately winning by a length and a half with plenty in hand. The large ‘P’ attached to Inspiral’s Timeform rating denotes that she is likely to make significant improvement with that run under her belt, so she is fancied to take the step up in grade here in her stride for John and Thady Gosden, who also have the ‘Hot Trainer’ Flag to underline that their yard is in rude health (87% of horses running to form)." Well, we can't say we weren't warned, and the filly was heavily backed into evens favourite.

Inspiral's likely next target is reportedly the Gr.2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster, ahead of a possible tilt at Gr.1 honours in either the Fillies' Mile or Prix Marcel Boussac.
By:
FOYLESWAR
When: 23 Jul 21 10:27
good write up on inspiral james, was impressive but the world and his wife wont have missed it and she will likely be plenty short enough  next time, no bets for me yet and will see what ireland  and godolphin have to offer in the coming weeks /months....
By:
FOYLESWAR
When: 27 Jul 21 16:35
the 5.10 at galway won by jess harringtons alerzarine looked a decent contest the top 3 in the betting   have entrys  in debutante and other good races and   filled the 1st 3 places ,well backed winner beat the heavily backed 2nd  twinkle and did it well , winner and 2nd both should progress and  the 3rd should find a race or 2  in time  all should be  better over further and worth keeping an eye on.  gns winner hermosa  the only real one of note to win this in the past .
By:
FOYLESWAR
When: 27 Jul 21 17:04
ffs rumours  winner was wrong horse a 3 yo ?
By:
jamesp
When: 30 Jul 21 07:31
Yes, a complete fiasco at Galway: we'll have to wait for another chance to see the debut of the well regarded Alizarine. Twinkle's victory at Galway is another boost for the form of Dermot Weld's filly Homeless Songs, who beat her by nearly 6 lengths on debut at Leopardstown. Agartha, 2 lengths runner-up to Homeless Songs in that maiden at Leopardstown, recently put up a much improved performance to win the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes in quite impressive fashion (RPR 100). Homeless Songs (by Frankel) is very much one to keep on the right side and she looks capable of holding her own in much higher company.
By:
jamesp
When: 06 Aug 21 21:41
I'm a little surprised to see that Prettiest has been declared to run in Sunday's Gr.1 Phoenix Stakes over 6f at the Curragh. Following her promising run behind Sandrine in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, I thought that a step up to 7f would suit her, only for her to perform below expectations over that trip in the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes next time (finished behind Seisai who won a Listed race at Tipperary this evening). She was found to be in season after that race, however, which might account for a below par performance. I'm not convinced that the drop back to 6f will necessarily suit her, and there are some decent colts to overcome (La Collina was the last filly to win the race in 2011), but I couldn't resist a small bet on her for Sunday's race at 16/1 with Betfair (9/1 - 11/1 elsewhere), which looks overpriced considering she's the mount of Ryan Moore while her stablemate The Entertainer (S.Heffernan) is only 12/1 here on Sportsbook (but as big as 20/1 elsewhere). Aidan O'Brien, needless to say, has a very good record in the race and has won it with some very smart colts over the years, though it's not a race he normally targets with his 1000 Guineas prospects, and I'm hoping for a better performance from Prettiest to put herself in the Guineas reckoning.
By:
jamesp
When: 06 Aug 21 22:17
Guineas favourite Inspiral's Sandown (Star Stakes) winning form comes under the spotlight tomorrow in the Gr.3 Sweet Solera Stakes, where the 2nd Wild Beauty, 3rd Sunstrike and 5th Almohandesah renew rivalry, but they may be a shade vulnerable to a lightly raced improving type. Mark Johnston has a good recent record in this race (two wins and one second place in the last three renewals) and his well-bred filly Value Theory, who made a good impression over C&D last time, has been backed from 5/1 to 7/2 and there are quite a few tips for her tomorrow (including the Timeform pick).
By:
JayTrumpOldTomDubbl
When: 07 Aug 21 21:00
Sweet Solera looked ordinary race.
I think the Moyglare is the race that matters.
It stands the test each year. Always a classy event.
The target may be further along the road!
Will watch curragh race with interest!
By:
jamesp
When: 08 Aug 21 15:28
Yes, the Moyglare and other races in the next few weeks will tell us a lot more about the pecking order.
Dismal performance by Prettiest in this afternoon's Gr.1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. Ryan Moore had the whip out some way from home and she weakened quickly. One can't keep making excuses, and she's simply not progressing (unfortunately).
By:
jamesp
When: 10 Aug 21 14:40
Quick review of some of last week's notable performances by juvenile fillies:
Seisai (previously third in the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes) put up quite a decent effort to land a Listed race at Tipperary (RPR 95), suggesting that Agartha's rating (OR 102, RPR 100) is about right. The Silver Flash Stakes form looks solid Group 3 class form and Agartha looks a useful and progressive filly who can make her presence felt in better company.
Majestic Glory put up a good winning time (the fastest of the four 7f events on the card) in Saturday's Gr.3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket. The running of Wild Beauty in second suggests that Inspiral (who beat her with more authority at Sandown) would have won this contest quite comfortably, but Andrew Balding's filly (OR 100, RPR 99) is clearly going in the right direction and can do even better. Again, solid Group 3 form without setting the pulse racing.
Over at Deauville Oscula put her slighty disappointing performance in the Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes behind her, putting up an improved effort over 7f to land an all-the-way win in the Gr.3 Prix Six Perfections under an enterprising ride from Ryan Moore (OR 103, RPR 103). Runner-up Zellie, the odds-on favourite and previously unbeaten in three starts (impressive last time in a Listed race), looked a shade unlucky, coming from off the pace and showing a smart turn of foot to get to within 1½ lengths of the winner. Andre Fabre's filly still looks a classy and smart prospect and is very much one to keep a close eye on.
Another Andre Fabre-trained filly Shaikha (RPR 88) made a big impression when winning the Prix de Lisieux for unraced fillies over 6f by 3 lengths (same distance back to the third) in a very fast winning time of 1m 8.54s (1.90s faster than the colts' equivalent race and also quicker than both of the 6f handicaps on the same card). She has a lovely flowing stride, won easily and is definitely one for the notebook.
Fast Attack (RPR 90) is speedily bred (by Kodiac out of a 6f winner) and showed loads of pace to win an ordinary 7f Kempton maiden on debut by 6 lengths, showing a good turn of foot. The Crisfords' filly holds an entry in the Gr.2 Prix du Calvados on 21 August: that might be flying a bit high at this stage, but perhaps a race like the Gr.3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood would be a realistic target for her.
By:
jamesp
When: 12 Aug 21 11:21
I've been taking another look at the Gr.3 Prix Six Perfections replay, fractions and form, and I think it's safe to upgrade the performances of the runner-up Zellie and third Daneh. The bare ratings (RPR 103 for the winner) suggest that it's solid but unexceptional form for the grade, and the winner Oscula who pinched the race from the front under an enterprising ride had looked a bit below the top rank over 6f (possibly unsuited by the fast ground in the Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes), but there are reasons for thinking that the winner improved for the step up to 7f and that both Zellie and Daneh can make their presence felt in Group races from now on.

Zellie had been very impressive when extending her unbeaten record to three races with a bloodless victory in the Prix Roland de Chambure (Listed). Mickael Barzalona was impressed by her acceleration on that occasion, remarked that the fily would have accelerated again if required, and described her as "a filly with a big motor". She was strongly fancied to follow up in the Prix Six Perfections but found herself a little far back with three furlongs to race and despite making rapid headway in the closing stages was still 1½ lengths adrift at the line, after making up about 3/10th of a second in the last three furlongs (that's about 5 lengths). Zellie looks the ideal type for the Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac and could take in either the Gr.2 Prix du Calvados (21 August) or Gr.3 Prix d'Aumale beforehand. Her dam is an unraced half-sister to 1000 Guineas winner Speciosa, and she should have no trouble getting a mile.

The 3rd-placed Daneh, having been slowly away, was even quicker than Zellie over the last three furlongs (34.01s against 34.10s for Zellie) but made her move earlier and was overhauled close home by the runner-up. She had previously impressed with an easy win on debut at Kempton (showing an excellent turn of foot) and remains a smart prospect. She holds entries in the Prix du Calvados, Rockfel Stakes and Fillies' Mile. She's by Dubawi out of the top class Rizeena (winner of the Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Gr.1 Coronation Stakes) and will definitely get a mile.

It's interesting to compare Daneh's sectional times wth those of the Crisfords' other smart prospect Fast Attack. Both fillies won first time out over 7f on standard/slow at Kempton. Daneh achieved a marginally faster winning time (1m 27.91 against 1m 28.07), with Daneh also clocking the fastest sectional of 11.49s for the penultimate furlong (compared with Fast Attack's final two furlongs of 11.56s and 11.66s). Daneh looks the better filly of the pair at this stage, especially in light of her very good performance at Deauville, but Fast Attack herself looks a smart prospect and should make her mark in Group company.

Zellie and Daneh can both be backed for the Guineas at 50/1, which represents fair value, and one could certainly back worse 50/1 shots than either of these two.
By:
jamesp
When: 17 Aug 21 13:12
Eleven fillies have been left in the Gr.2 Debutante Stakes at the Curragh this Saturday. This race is often a strong pointer to the Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and other Group 1 races. Four of the last six winners of the 1000 Guineas (Mother Earth, Love, Hermosa and Minding) ran in the Debutante Stakes and all were beaten in it(!). The last six winners of the Debutante all went on to win at Group 1 level.

11 Velocidad (JPO'Brien)
33221 Agartha (JPO'Brien)
21 Concert Hall (APO'Brien)
41 Discoveries (MrsJHarrington)
510 Hapipi Go Lucky (JPMurtagh)
31 Mise Le Meas (JPMurtagh)
1447 Prettiest (APO'Brien)
22 Radiyka (DKWeld)
3131 Seisai (JPO'Brien)
24 Sunset Shiraz (GCromwell)
51 Twinkle (APO'Brien)

Velocidad carries a penalty for having won a soft-looking Gr.2 race last time (four runners, slow winning time, beaten favourite stumbled leaving the stalls, runner-up had previously been well beaten in the Queen Mary Stakes). She's stepping up to 7f for the first time and will need to learn to settle better (took a keen hold last time), but is bred to stay well (from a staying family on the dam's side).

Agartha has been noted previously in this discussion thread. She sets the standard, having won the Gr.3 Silver Flash Stakes over this trip in good style last time (a marked improvement on her previous four efforts in maiden company), but it's hard to know where she stands in the pecking order vis-a-vis her stablemate Velocidad. Seisai, won a Listed race recently (RPR 95) but was previously beaten more than three lengths by Agartha and has something to find.

Prettiest ran very disappointingly in the Gr.1 Phoenix Stakes last time and will need to put up a much improved performance here to get competitive. Her stablemates Concert Hall and Twinkle are stepping up from maiden victories (like Aidan O'Brien's four most recent winners of this race: Magical, Rhododendron, Ballydoyle and Tapestry). Twinkle, a full sister to Anthony Van Dyck, 'won' (on the disqualification of the three-year-old 'winner') a Galway maiden on soft ground last time (RPR 87), beating Radiyka. Concert Hall (by Dubawi out of Oaks winner Was) narrowly won a Curragh maiden last time (RPR 86). Both are promising fillies who should do well over longer trips, but both need to step forward and make significant improvement on the bare form of their maiden wins.

Discoveries (superbly bred, full sister to Alpha Centauri) narrowly won a Curragh maiden last time (RPR 91) from a smart-looking newcomer (holds Mise Le Meas on that form). She's a great big attractive filly with lots of scope for further improvement, and it would be no surprise to see her emulate her half-sister Alpine Star, who won this race two years ago.

Mise Le Meas, beaten by Discoveries first time out, won a Gowran maiden comfortably (slow winning time, RPR 90) and looks to be on the upgrade. She's a half-sister to Gr.1 winning miler Nahoodh.

It's interesting to note that Dermot Weld has left in Radiyka, who has a length and a half to find with Twinkle on Galway form. She's clearly held in high regard, and her dam Raydara won this race for the same owner in 2014.

A fascinating, unpredictable and potentially high class renewal, which may well be a pointer to next year's Guineas!
By:
jamesp
When: 17 Aug 21 13:36
Unbeaten Sandrine is a warm favourite for the Gr.2 Lowther at York on Thursday and appears to have something in hand (even under her 3lbs penalty) of old rivals Hello You and Desert Dreamer. Using the latter as a guide, Sandrine also appears to have the edge over Zain Claudette (winner of the Gr.3 Princess Margaret Stakes). It looks like a solid renewal, but none of the principals appeals to me as a likely Guineas contender at this stage. Sandrine may eventually get a mile, but it's by no means certain (her dam was a 6-7f winner from a speedy family) and we may not get the chance to see her race beyond 6f this year.

Mark Johnston's Outside World (the mount of Frankie Dettori) has a lot to find on form but was quite impressive last time (albeit in a weak-looking novices race), but she's unexposed and very well bred (daughter of Gr.1 winning miler Nahoodh) and looks a shade overpriced at 20/1.
By:
JayTrumpOldTomDubbl
When: 17 Aug 21 14:23
Love was 5th of 9 in the Debutante but went on next time out to win the Moyglare.
Well done jamesp great thread must surely bear fruit.
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