More poignant than you may think with Quiet Reflection going on after taking the 2015 renewal to bigger and better things as Kevin Ryan’s second winner of this race in the last ten years. Sadly he has decided that he has nothing either good enough or suitable for this season’s renewal so we need to look elsewhere for the winner and on official ratings it would appear that Mrs Danvers (9/4) is the one to be on when her fillies’ allowance is taken in to account. So far this season the Jonathan Portman trained daughter of Hellvelyn has won four out of four at Lingfield, Windsor, and Newbury (twice), the latest in the Listed St Hugh’s Stakes over this trip which she took by a couple of lengths without being touched by the whip by jockey Richard Kingscote. Perhaps the bargain of the decade if not the century, she was snapped up for 1000 Guineas and has already won over 150 times that for her connections and if she can add this Group Three prize, she will add another £45,000 to the ever growing kitty.
Mark Johnston’s Yalta (8/1) is the best horse in the race according to the handicapper but has to carry more weight than Mrs Danvers as a colt which is why he is only second in our early race preview. Three wins from seven starts can’t match her unbeaten record but his form could be seen as being a class apart if you only focus on his three length defeat of stable companion The Last Lion in the Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. That form is rock solid if taken at face value with the runner up placing in numerous decent races and winning the Group One Middle Park Stakes here over an extra furlong last weekend and Yalta will clearly take all the beating if repeating that form this afternoon.
On various form lines, wherever Yalta finishes the Hugo Palmer trained Afandem (9/2) won’t be too far away and James Doyle has been snapped up bright and early to ride the son of Vale Of York who will be looking for win number five on his ninth start. Amusingly, he has won every other race so far and as he was fourth to Ardad at Doncaster he needs to win today to keep up that sequence, and as he has already scored in this class in the Prix D’Arenberg at Chantilly he is clearly up to this class and may have a better chance than his likely price implies.
Everyone has to start somewhere and it will be interesting to see how the lightly raced Visionary (20/1) gets on for the excellent Robert Cowell. A win at Brighton was followed by a third at Ascot but this is obviously an awful lot more competitive and he needs to build dramatically on those efforts to get involved in the finish. On the bright side, his trainer knows a good sprinter when he has one and the fact that he sees fit to even enter the son of Dream Ahead suggests he may be better than we have seen so far.
Lastly, Prince Of Lir (12/1) has already won at Royal Ascot when taking the Group Two Norfolk Stakes beating none other than The Last Lion by half a length, and he went on to win the Group One Middle Park Stakes last time out. Three runs without a win since isn’t so impressive, but he was only three and a half lengths behind Ardad at Doncaster in the Flying Childers and may find this a little easier though his Group winning penalty does mean he has to give weight away all round.