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DFS Park Hill Stakes (Group 2)
Won last year by the brilliant Simple Verse, this 1m 6f contest will stretch the horses’ stamina and guts as they power down the straight. Our 2017 Park Hill Stakes tips and betting preview can be found below.
IN SUMMARY: Many of these have met before, with there not being much between Dubka, Melodic Motion and Natural Scenery on their meeting at Glorious Goodwood. You can make a case for all of those horses, however preference is for ALJEZEERA who is a daughter of Frankel and is the unexposed runner in this field. She has improved with each run and simply flew home after being outpaced on her latest start at York in Listed company. A step up in trip is ideal and she can be steered to victory by Frankie Dettori for the red hot Luca Cumani yard.
1 ALYSSA – Won a Listed race on her final start of 2016 for Ralph Beckett, returning this season with a disappointing showing at York in May. She was far from disgraced on her latest start when nearly making all at Sandown, only headed late on and keeping on gallantly when passed. A step back in trip looks right up her alley, what doesn’t, however, is the softer ground as she’s avoided it all her career and she does need improvement, regardless, to feature here. Others are preferred.
2 DUBKA – Four-year-old for Sir Michael Stoute who went close two starts ago at Glorious Goodwood in a Group 3, only beaten a length when headed in the final strides. She didn’t, however, back that up when brushed aside in the Ebor, but a bounce back would be no surprise and this softer ground is in her favour. She has Ryan Moore back on board and looks sure to play a key role with the yard in such great form.
3 GROOVEJET – Ran well in this race back in 2014 and 2015, but she’s painfully inconsistent and her runs this season don’t convince that she is up to winning this under Stevie Donohoe. She was third on her latest start in a handicap, never looking likely to take victory and this is a much tougher race. It’ll pay to look elsewhere here.
4 HARLEQUEEN – Third in both the Oaks and Irish Oaks back in 2016 for Mick Channon and she posted her best effort this season when a good third at Chester in a Listed Handicap two weeks ago. She does have something to prove on softer ground though and a reversal of placings with Dubka looks extremely unlikely. She’s an each way player if building on her latest start, but she’s vulnerable for win purposes.
5 NATURAL SCENERY – Finished a length behind Dubka in a Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood in August and she was ahead of that rival when third in the Ebor at York three weeks ago. They were on identical terms that day and they are once again on equal weights, which gives her leading claims under Jim Crowley. She handles softer ground and should make a bold bid for glory for a yard in great form.
6 SWEET SELECTION – Five-year-old for Hughie Morrison who has stamina in droves, winning a Group 3 over the two mile trip at Ascot in May. She’s been well held in three runs since though and she was only passing beaten horses when ninth in the Goodwood Cup on her latest start. Today’s trip looks very much on the sharp side for her, despite the ground, and she should be left outpaced here unless they go at a frantic pace which looks unlikely.
7 ALJEZEERA – Daughter of Frankel who’s only had three runs for Luca Cumani, improving markedly with each of them for Al Shaqab Racing. She absolutely flew home on her latest start after being outpaced earlier in the race to finish third in a Listed contest at York in August. A further step up in trip is only in her favour and, with softer ground perfect for her, she can take her first pattern success under Dettori.
8 DETAILED – Progressive in handicaps for Joesph O’Brien out in Ireland, but she has plenty to prove at this level and is unlikely to be good enough to win this. She won her latest start comfortably at Roscommon, but that was only a handicap and the form isn’t anything to scream about. She’ll like conditions but, against proven pattern performers, she is likely to be outclassed here.
9 MELODIC MOTION – Three-year-old for Ralph Beckett who completed a hat-trick when winning a handicap at Newmarket in very easy style, eased down by today’s rider Oisin Murphy. She was far from disgraced in her first taste of pattern company when third at Glorious Goodwood in a Group 3, only a neck behind Dubka. She has similar conditions here and a repeat of that performance would see her being a big each way player as she still remains firmly unexposed.
10 WILD IRISH ROSE – Irish raider for Aidan O’Brien who has run well in recent starts but does need some improvement if she’s to be beating these. She was behind Dubka, Melodic Motion and Natural Scenery two starts ago at Glorious Goodwood which leaves her with a lot to find as she was two lengths behind the latter of those. She handles softer ground, yet her stamina for this far is still a question mark. Likely to miss out here under Wayne Lordan.