A high class Listed race for fillies aged four or more and one that has been taken by the favourite in four of the last ten runnings. Not one trainer has managed to double up in the last decade though Jamie Spencer rode both Set To Music (2012) and Secret Gesture (2014) and rides this track as well as any. With plenty of interesting options this season our race preview is well worth a read as always.
IN SUMMARY: As highly competitive as every year and a race that will take some winning. Sir Michael Stoute’s PLAYFUL SOUND won a shade cosily on her return to action and with her trainer seemingly confident that she has improved for three to four she looks by far the likeliest winner and she can come home in front of both Permission (who is of a lot of interest stepping up in trip) and perhaps Wilamina who has each way chances.
1 ALF GUINEAS – Two wins from just the five races so far for master trainer John Gosden who continues to bang in the winners but with a little less frequency of late. A daughter of the great Sea The Stars she took a Wolverhampton maiden in November last year and a Class Four handicap at Chelmsford on her return in April. Last time out she stepped up to Listed class but was soon found out when a twenty-one length last of eight to Ajman Princess at Goodwood in the Listed Daisy Warwick Stakes, weakening quickly when tried over a mile and a half. The drop to this trip may well suit but she still has a stone of improvement to find on official ratings and is yet to prove she handles the turf as well as the all-weather.
2 CHINOISERIES – Well backed on her debut when winning at Chepstow when she was talked up as a possible classic contender, she has had her issues since and was off the track from October 2015 until earlier this month. A seventh of eight to Ajman Princess told us very little as she was fully entitled to need the run, but jockey bookings suggest she is the stable second string now and a watching brief may still be sensible for the moment.
3 ENTSAR – Sure to be popular in the betting with Frankie Dettori (seven wins form twenty-nine rides for a 24% success rate in the last two weeks) riding for William Haggas (eleven from forty-one for a 27% win percentage), but despite her two wins from six starts record there is a worry she could be outclassed. After scoring at Lingfield in September last year Frankie was quoted saying “Entsar is not a world beater and her future probably lies in handicaps” which has to ring alarm bells stepped up in to Listed Class after an eight and three quarter length sixth to Carnachy on her only try in this grade on her last run of last season at Doncaster.
4 LUCY THE PAINTER – Ed De Giles’ five-year-old daughter of Excellent Art hasn’t won now in ten races stretching back to May last year when she took her third race in a row at Lingfield in a Class Four handicap. Since then she has finished a good third to Persuasive in the Group Three over a mile at Sandown in August but she will need to repeat that and not her sixth of nine to Laugh Aloud at Goodwood last time out if she wants to take a hand here.
5 MORE MISCHIEF – The joint highest rated contender according to the handicapper but without a win in five races now stretching back to April last year. Clearly an adaptable sort with win from a mile plus to a mile and a half, the trip is not an issue but her last run was when an eighteen length seventh of ten to Almela at Galway in early September and it may be asking a bit much to have her fully tuned up after close to nine months off the track. Trainer Jedd O’Keefe is in decent enough form with two winners in the last fourteen days and a healthy level stakes profit of +19 points but it seems unlikely she will add to those figures.
6 PERMISSION – James Fanshawe is never a trainer to overlook and has chances here with this daughter of Authorized who really caught the eye on her return to action at Ascot when only a length adrift of Tisbutadream at Ascot in a Class Two handicap. She has only had the five career starts and this will be her first try at anything beyond a mile but she is bred to be better over further and could yet be the surprise package.
7 PLAYFUL SOUND – An improving daughter of Street Cry out of a Giant’s Causeway mare she has already showed her rude health this season with a win at Newmarket earlier this month when battling on well to beat Next Stage a length and a quarter in a Class Two handicap over nine furlongs. After that win trainer Sir Michael Stoute said “Playful Sound was over the top when she got beat on her final start last year and she’s improved physically and mentally from three to four. We kept her in training to get some black type this year so we’ll look for a Listed race now” which suggests this was one of her possible targets and with improvement likely, she could well be the one they all have to beat this afternoon.
8 SINGYOURSONG – Only two pounds better off with Permission for two and three quarter lengths on Ascot form but still looks to be the David Simcock first string with Jamie Spencer booked to ride. A win on her return at Brighton seemed to set her up for the season but she was found lacking at a better venue last time, and she may well find one or two a bit too classy for her now as well.
9 VERY DASHING – A bit of a dark horse here after a very good fourth to Absolute Blast at Kempton in the Listed Magnolia Stakes when grinding it out from the front before being caught close home and beaten a length. That was her first run since November and her first for Ralph Beckett after leaving Luca Cumani, and with improvement likely she seems sure to make a bold attempt at making all again this afternoon.
10 WILAMINA – With one win and two runners up places from five starts the daughter of Zoffany is an intriguing entry as she steps up from a mile for the first time. Her supporters will need to ignore her last run when last of fifteen at Newmarket after being heavily eased once beaten, and with al her best efforts on a surface with plenty of cut in it, she may need a bit over overnight rain to be seen at her peak. Both trainer Martyn Meade and jockey Andrea Atzeni are in among the winners so there is still hope but she may yet find these a bit too good on her first run since September an could be best watched for the moment.