Well, I got some of the Musidora right. I advised against the overnight favourite Teona and said that Noon Star would be second best and that Snowfall (who eventually won) was very interesting at 14/1. If only Mystery Angel had fared a little better, but I'm happy with the 14/1 e/w about the winner and now to Thursday...
Feature of the day is full access for all users to the Instant Expert tab on every race including, of course, our free races of the day, which will be...
- 2.10 York
- 3.25 Salisbury
- 4.35 Clonmel
- 5.10 Clonmel
- 5.30 Newmarket
- 8.10 Fontwell
Again, like Wednesday, the York race is the best of the bunch and is another small-field, Class 1 fillies' contest that would appear on paper to be a 2 (possibly 3) horse race, but coukld there be a big priced runner waiting to steal the glory like Snowfall did in the Musidora?
To find out, I'll run through the 2.10 York, officially known as the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies Stakes, which is a Group 2 contest over the same 1m2½f as the Musidora and now on Good To Soft ground. Six 4yo+ females are set to line up for a crack at a prize worth £56,710 and here they are...
The early show at the bookies says that Queen Power at 9/4 is marginally favoured over Passion at 5/2, but only the latter makes the Geegeez ratings' top three with first place going to current 4/1 third favourite Silence Please. The rest of the field range from 15/2 to 12/1.
Only the fav Queen Power is winless in her last five outings, whilst both Chamade and Cabaleta have won twice in that period. The fav has at least had the benefit of a run already this season, as has Freyja, whilst the other four are coming back from six to eight month breaks. As it's a non-handicap, they all carry the same weight, so Passion is technically best off at the weights, as she's rated 111, some 11lbs better than Chamade.
Cabaleta has lost her last three outings since winning a Listed contest over 1m4f at Newbury ten months ago and was fairly comprehensively beaten last time out on Champions' Day some 220 days ago. I'd say she was one of the weaker options here, although she might benefit from the drop in trip and easier ground than those two soft ground losses.
Chamade has improved steadily since closing her 2019 campaign with a 7f win at Newmarket. She was beaten by 7.5 lengths over 1m2f in a Group 3 upon returning from almost eight months off and then went down by 5.5 lengths in a Listed race. Since then she has won over 1m2f at Class 2 and over this trip at Doncaster last time out in a Listed race. This is obviously tougher and she hasn't been seen for six months, but if things go her way, she could get involved at a nice price.
Freyja had a six-week purple patch last September/October where she finished 1311 progressively stepping up in quality from Class 4 to 3 to 2 and landing a Listed race over 1m2f on heavy ground at HQ on Halloween. She was only beaten by a neck in another listed race over today's trip on her seasonal bow last month, but was ran out of it in a Group 2 at Newmarket 11 days ago and she'll need to bounce back, although I suspect getting away from Good to Firm ground will be helpful.
Passion was kept pretty active last season, racing seven times, the highlights of which were a Group 3 win over 1m6f on soft ground at Naas three starts ago and she ran really well to finish third in a 1m2f, Group 1 race on Champions Day at Ascot in October. She had no chance with the winner, Wonderful Tonight, but she stayed on well from a mid-division spot. Only the seventh placed horse from that race has been seen since and although 8 lengths behind Passion at Ascot, has since come within half a length of landing a Group 3 race. My only issue here is the drop in trip.
Queen Power showed little ill-effect from a 262-day layoff when going down by just a head in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket 11 days ago, but that was over 1m1f and on quicker ground than here. She didn't make the frame on her sole run on ground softer than good, but her overall record in this grade is excellent despite not winning any of four Group 2 races, she has finished 4232 and is expected to be there again.
Silence Please won each of her first three outings, culminating in landing a 1m2f Listed race at Navan last June. Since then she was third in another Listed race and a Group 2 runner-up, both in Ireland either side of an excellent run in the Group 1 German Oaks last August, where she was only beaten by two lengths. She hasn't raced for 243 days, but that Listed success at Navan came after 283 days off track. She'll get the trip readily enough, I'm just not sure about the going.
This looks like a really good contest here, where the lack of runners looks to have been compensated by the competitive line-up. Quality not quantity, hopefully! All are decent runners in their own rights, but who's best suited to today's conditions?
Feature of the day, Instant Expert, is the quickest way of looking how they've ran in similar circumstances from both a place & win perspective...
Good to Soft ground is a new experience for many of them, as most have either ran on quicker or slower ground in the past. The second half of the racecard looks stringer than the top half from a Class 1 placing angle, whilst Queen Power certainly gets the trip, making the frame in three of five attempts. It's still a little too early to stick my neck out, but the lower half does look stronger and that would back up the early markets.
In similar 5-7 runner contests here, it has been beneficial to be in the lower half of the draw, so that's good news for Queen Power, Chamade & Freyja...
...whilst such contests have favoured those who either led or were held-up for a run. Those caught between two stools have tended to suffer/struggle...
...and this would be good news for the top half of the racecard, which is in direct opposition to form, making this a possibly very intriguing contest. So, we now know Chamade, for example, is drawn low and likes to lead and both traits have been deemed to be good for winning such races, but do they work well together? Let's consult the pace/draw heat map...
Well, yes, it does, as you'd expect, but a little surprisingly not quite as well as if she raced a little or much further back. Mid-division is a definite no-no here. To show how he race might pan out, we'll overlay the past running styles of our six runners onto that heatmap and sort the field by draw order as follows...
The pace is definitely going to come from the middle, where Freyja looks to have the best of it. Cabaletta's best chance would be to hang on and come late, hopefully after the front two have burnt each other out, whilst Queen Power seems to have the best pace/draw make-up of the three shorter priced horses.
Do I agree with the bookies? I probably do, sadly.
Will it be easy for the market leaders? Probably not.
So, who wins? Well, based on the above, you can make a case for most, if not all of them. My interpretation of what I've put probably has Queen Power shading it over passion, but I think I want them the other way around. The step up in trip and the softer conditions underfoot are slight negatives about Queen Power, so I'm siding with Passion at a non-life changing 5/2.
Those wanting a bigger price tilt at the favs could consider Chamade at 10/1. She'd be lower in the market, but for how short the 2 favs are and I think she's batter than 10's in a 6-horse race. She's going to try and win it from the front and if things fall her way, she could hold on for a place at least, if not better.