One of the best races of the day and won in the past by the likes of Turret Rocks in 2015 and farmed by Godolphin in recent years with no less than four of the last ten winners, though it has headed over the Irish Sea in the last two years. If we follow the Godolphin route then that instantly leads us to the Charlie Appleby trainer Grecian Light (17/2) who starts our race preview for that very reason, as well as her form of course. After winning her maiden first time out at Newmarket she was thrown in at the deep end in the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes when she finished runner up to Nations Alexander but didn’t run as well as expected last time out at Goodwood when last of seven in the Prestige Stakes behind Kilmah who may well re-oppose here along with three others who finished in front of her that day. In her defence she pulled far too hard that day and can’t be judged on that run alone though on form she obviously has a fair bit to find to get involved in the finish.
Presumably on the basis of the run mentioned above, Mark Johnston’s Kilmah (7/2) is clearly the best horse in the race according to the official handicapper with a rating of 101 and she does hold Grecian Light, as well as Urban Fox, Rich Legacy, and Tiburtina. She was all out to win by a neck after making all the running at Goodwood and but like most of the trainer’s horses is as tough as teak and awfully hard to pass, and if she can get to the front we can’t really see anything getting past her and are happy to make her our selection here.
At the risk of insulting trainer Andrew Balding it always seems that he leaves a bit to work on when he can, especially with his juveniles who invariably improve considerably for their race course debuts. That statement makes it all the more remarkable that Hidden Steps (18/1) took her maiden at Lingfield last month when seeing off Even money favourite Aimez La Vie at odds of 5/1 at Lingfield over seven furlongs. Slowly away and showing all the signs you expect of an inexperienced filly, she was sent after the leaders at the furlong pole before going on to score by half a length and with that run under her belt and an extra furlong she seems sure to be involved in the finish.
Meanwhile, trainer John Gosden has an admirable record with top class fillies and has the good looking Blending (11/4) entered her as the daughter of Medicean looks to follow up her recent maiden win over seven furlongs at Newmarket. It wasn’t the best race ever seen at the track but she was backed down to 7/4 favourite on the day and stayed on strongly to win by two length going away at the line, and with the second and third both winning since, the form has a better than average look about it. She will clearly need to improve on what we have seen so far but you never know how good they are until they try, and she is clearly held in high regard and still hold a Group One Fillies Mile entry for later in the season.
Lastly, David O’Meara is not exactly best known for his juveniles but he has an interesting one in here with Reachforthestars (22/1) who won on her debut here at Doncaster before finding Nordic Combined half a length too good for her at Thirsk. Still learning by the look of it, we may not have seen the best of the daughter of Sea The Stars just yet, and back on good ground she may well run a lot better than some expect.