Whilst the colts (and The Fugue!) do battle at Sandown for the Coral Eclipse this weekend, the fillies will be taking centre stage at Haydock Park for the Lancashire Oaks.
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Eight horses have been declared for the Group 2 contest over 1 mile 3 furlongs and 200 yards (bear in mind this is almost the 1m 4f trip when making your selection), including Godolphin’s Albasharah. Albasharah was last seen when finishing 5th in the Wolferton Handicap after being sent off the 3/1 favourite. She was help up towards the rear in the early stages of the race, and when seemingly making her move she was hampered quite badly and lost momentum and never looked like winning thereafter. She did eventually quicken again towards the line and stayed on well to just grab 5th ahead of Two For Two and Chapter Seven. Prior to that race at Royal Ascot she was unbeaten in 3 starts all over 1m 2f. That includes her reappearance at Doncaster this season where she travelled well tucked in behind the leaders and when asked to quicken, accelerated to win cosily by 8 lengths. She was unlucky at Royal Ascot and if she hadn’t been hampered it’s unlikely she would have been out of the first three home; based on that form she certainly deserves to take the step up in class, however I do have slight concerns about the trip. She is attempting near-on 2f further than she has previously experienced and I’m unsure if her pace and impressive turn of foot is more suited by a shorter distance.
Her rival in the betting market is the David Simcock trained Moment In Time. Moment In Time has a lot more racecourse experience in comparison to the Godolphin runner, including winning C&D form last time out when she took the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock. She was also held up towards the rear for much of the race but she continued to stay on strongly from 2 out and she got her head in front of Nymphea at the line. Ambivalent was back in 3rd that day but she went on to win the Pretty Polly stakes at the Curragh last weekend which strengthens the form of Moment In Times win further. She has continued to improve in her races and this looks to be her toughest opposition to date, she is very likely to be there or thereabouts at the business end under Jim Crowley.
One horse that I feel could be overpriced is BANOFFEE. A winner on 2 of her 3 starts to date, including the Cheshire Oaks at Chester, she was seen most recently at Epsom for the Oaks, but despite looking like she may come for a run on the outside as they turned for home, she was still green after only two previous races she never picked up to go with the leaders, finishing back in 7th. If you ignore that race I think she would be a lot shorter in the betting market. She has been prepped for this race by trainer Hughie Morrison and with Kieren Fallon on board again there could be more to come from this filly and she looks one to be on the right side of.
Of the others, I believe Emirates Queen can have a line put through her name, her best run to date was at York last July when finishing 2nd behind Barefoot Lady in a listed contest but she hasn’t shown that form since and she is being upped in trip for this. She has potential, but she will need to improve massively on recent efforts to feature in this race.
Midnight Soprano comes over from Ireland in good form after winning the Group 3 Noblesse stakes at Cork last month, however the ground is likely to be very quick Good to Firm conditions, and most of her races to date have been over much softer. She will need to prove herself on quicker conditions to make an impact, not one to rule out completely.
A couple of these have plenty to prove, but are open to improvement and could run big races, including likely favourite Albasharah, however BANOFFEE looks a huge price at 9/1 with William Hill and represents plenty of each way value; I will be surprised if she doesn’t go off shorter by Saturday afternoon.
BANOFFEE @ 9/1 with William Hill
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