Always a classy race and won by the likes of Special Duty (2009), Tiggy Wiggy (2014), and Lumiere (last season), suggesting it takes a top class juvenile filly to come home with the prize even if there is no guarantee they will train in at three. All eyes this season will be on Wesley Ward’s Lady Aurelia (5/6) who arrives here unbeaten and put in a sparkling piece of work last weekend here on the Rowley Mile. A daughter of Scat Daddy out of a Forest Wildcat mare she is certainly American bred yet after winning her first race at Keeneland in Kentucky by seven and a half lengths over four and a half furlongs, she has been campaigned exclusively in Europe. Brought over to contest the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot we all thought the ground had gone against her when the rains came but she put her rivals to the sword with a ridiculously easy seven length win from the previously unbeaten Al Johrah that was the talk of the press room for the rest of the meeting. Rested for a couple of months she returned to the fray at Deauville in the Group One Prix Morny stepped up to six furlongs when she was sent off at 2/7 but was a lot less impressive in holding the previously unbeaten Alrahma three quarters of a length. Wes Ward has since admitted that she may well have been a gallop or two short that day but won’t be making the same mistake again, and Frankie Dettori could hardly be any more bullish about her chances though all of that is reflected in her odds.
Serious challengers do look a bit thin on the ground with the obvious exception of Queen Kindly (3/1) who will be a popular winner with the crowd as a daughter of Frankel. The only blemish on her four race record was a third to Brave Anna in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot on her second start which she followed with a very easy Novice Stakes win at Catterick and then the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York when waited with before pouncing inside the final furlong. Whether she has enough speed and class to sit on the hindquarters of a blistering Lady Aurelia seems open to question but she could well push the favourite to try and test her stamina in the hope of picking her off late on if she runs out of steam.
Although Roly Poly (6/1) was three quarters of a length behind Queen Kindly that day there is a chance she was sent to challenge way too soon and we suspect they will try to track Queen Kindly this time in the hope of a last moment challenge. Aidan O’Brien is as smart as they come when deciding on race tactics and with every chance that Ryan Moore will be on board it is not beyond the realms of possibilities that she will have a good try at reversing the York form at this track. Her earlier efforts do at least suggest that she has more stamina than speed and will be ridden to make the most of that in what could yet turn in to a tactical affair if only for the places.
Newmarket trainer David Simcock is having a good season and will hope for a big run from the lightly raced Pelllucid (66/1) who won first time out at Thirsk and was then an acceptable third to Madam Dancealot and Mystic Dawn in the Group Three Dick Poole Fillies Stakes at Salisbury. That is clearly nowhere near to good enough to bother the major players here but she is lightly raced and may have room for some improvement, though surely a bit of place prize money and some black type is the best that connections can realistically hope for.
To end with Irish raider Holy Cat (25/1) could be a lively outsider for those who like that sort of thing. A winner at Leopardstown on his debut by a very easy four and three quarter lengths but was soon put in her place at The Curragh when beaten four and a quarter lengths by Aidan O’Brien’s Intelligence Cross in the Group Three Round Cross Stakes. Back among her own sex and with room to improve after only two races she could yet be the surprise package and one to at least consider as an each way alternative to the jolly.