Blandford Stakes Tips & Betting Preview

Just the one winner at a double figure price in 16/1 chance Belle De Crecy in the last twelve runnings of the Group Two contest which has been won three times by both Sir Michael Stoute and John Oxx in the same period but perhaps surprisingly, just the once by Aidan O’Brien.  This year’s renewal looks as good as ever and our full race preview and selection follow for the Blandford Stakes from The Curragh.

IN SUMMARY: A close race to call but William Haggas clearly thinks an awful lot of SEA OF GRACE, and on breeding she may even improve for the step up to a mile and a quarter here. Her second in the French 1000 Guineas makes good reading in this line-up, and with the excellent Danny Tudhope an inspired jockey booking, she looks to have an outstanding chance this afternoon.

1 BEAUTIFUL MORNING – She hasn’t won in over a year now since last August 21016 when successful in a York maiden when trained in Newmarket by Luca Cumani, but she has run some decent races in defeat with a length and a half fifth to Rain Goddess here last time out in the Group Three Snow Fairy Stakes over a barely adequate nine furlongs. She looks to have plenty to find in this line up as well as on official ratings but will do better over this trip.

2 ROSENTAL – Luca Cumani sends the daughter of Pivotal over for this valuable event and has booked Adam Kirby to ride the five-year-old mare here who is looking for her fourth win and first at anything better than Listed company. Her length and a half third to Billesdon Bess at Salisbury last time out doesn’t look good enough for her to challenge the big guns this afternoon but the stable are in great form with five winners from their last eleven runners (45%), so if there is a surprise she could well be it.

3 SANTA MONICA – Two wins from eighteen starts for the Charles O’Brien filly including the Group Three Munster Oaks in June when running on well to win by a neck over the mile and a half. Whether she has the speed needed to cope with these over a quarter of a mile shorter seems doubtful and she may even be sent off the outsider on the day in this competitive line-up.

4 SEVENTH HEAVEN – Top class filly but perhaps surprisingly not the mount of Ryan Moore with Seamie Heffernan in the saddle here. Last time out she put in a superb effort even for an odds-on shot (4/7) when running away with the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket by five lengths, though that was over a mile and a half and she will need to find some added speed today. She did win her maiden over a mile at Dundalk in April 2016 but her four wins since have all been over a mile and a half or so, and if there is any chink in her armour the others may try to exploit it could be that, though Aidan O’Brien will no doubt have a tactical plan for just that eventuality with two other runners to call upon if needed if there is any lack of early pace.

5 SHAMREEN – Although Dermot Weld’s daughter of Dubawi took this race last year at odds of 2/1 this looks a far stronger renewal and she seems sure to off at a far bigger price today. She was visually impressive last time out over course and distance when beating Massif Central by three and a quarter lengths on soft ground in the Group Three Royal Whip Stakes, she will need to build on that to take a hand this afternoon but a place is not beyond a possibility with her two wins from four starts here suggesting she saves her very best for this track.

6 SMART CALL – She certainly lived up to her name in her native South Africa with wins at up to Grade One level but she hasn’t found life quite as easy since arriving at Sir Michael Stoute’s stable and is looking for her first win on her fifth start in Europe. Last time out she finished fourth in the Group One Prix Jean Romanet, a length and a half behind winner Ajman Princess and one place in front of hot favourite So Mi Dar. She seemed to find her rivals a bit too quick for her that day and could find the same fate awaits here, but she is dropped in to Group Two company and ought to threaten the places at the very least.

7 ALLURINGLY – There is a possibility that she could be used as the pacemaker for the O’Brien three here but she is a decent filly in her own right with a Listed win at Gowran Park in August before finding the company way too hot in the Yorkshire Oaks before finishing close to fifteen lengths adrift of winner Enable who is a real superstar. Her chances here look in line with her big price, and it would be a major shock were she to prove good enough to win a race of this standard.

8 RAIN GODDESS – Intriguingly the mount of Ryan Moore but did he have the choice and if so, why is he on the daughter of Galileo. Last time out she won the Group Three Snow Fairy Stakes here (Beautiful Morning was back in fifth), when she stayed on strongly over the nine furlongs and her earlier form includes a five and a quarter length second to Enable in the Irish Oaks and an eighth to Dacita in the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park and she may yet be the forgotten horse here in receipt of six pounds from her better fancied stable companion.

9 SEA OF GRACE – The third English challenger travels over for William Haggas, and Danny Tudhope rides the daughter of Born To Sea who was last seen winning the Listed Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock over the mile by a very easy four and a half lengths. Her second in the French 1000 Guineas marks her down as a class act, and on breeding the step up to this trip may even bring further improvement, and with the yard in good form with a 26% strike rate in the last two weeks she is fully entitled to challenge and should run a huge race today.

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