6.15 Lingfield – ALEXANA (nb)
A small field for this fillies’ maiden in which form and experience are at a premium, but there is significant interest among the newcomers, all three of them related to pattern-class performers and representing leading stables.
The selection is a daughter of Al Kazeem who is a three-parts sister to Listed-placed 1m 2yo winner Deirdre (by Dubawi) and a half sister to very smart 10-14f winner (including the Irish St Leger) Duncan, 2m 2f Group 2 Doncaster Cup winner Samuel, smart 12-14.5f 3yo winner (including at Group 2/Listed level) Gretchen and 12f 3yo winners Romina and Stella Bellissima, out of a Group 1-placed 1m 3yo Listed winner/1000 Guineas fourth. This filly is trained by William Haggas and makes any amount of appeal on pedigree, the latest representative of the wonderful broodmare Dolores, who has produced six winners from seven runners including three at Group level. A couple of those offspring, namely Gretchen and Stella Bellissima, made winning starts as three-year-olds over this sort of distance, while there are several other three-year-old debut scorers further back in the pedigree. She hails from a top stable that has done particularly well at this venue over the years from limited numbers (8-18 with this age group in the past decade), and it would be somewhat disappointing if their representative here couldn’t go close.
The James Fanshawe-trained Deep Sea is a four-year-old daughter of Deep Impact who debuted in a 12f maiden at Doncaster last month (9/1 chance), in rear and showing signs of inexperience, pushed along with half a mile left to run and making progress into midfield over two furlongs out, proving one paced inside the final two furlongs as she came home in fifth behind Pirate King (beaten 14 lengths). Her second outing came in a 12f fillies’ novice event at Kempton 17 days ago (33/1 chance), waited with towards the rear of the field and shaken up over three furlongs out, making progress over two furlongs out and briefly threatening for a place but having to settle for fourth behind the impressive Pilaster (beaten 12 lengths). This filly has shaped a little better than the bare facts of her two starts to date suggest, both races won by wide margins, unable sustain her challenge on either occasion; that latest piece of form entitles her to plenty of respect here, although she does have to concede 11lbs to the three-year-olds.
The Charlie Hills-trained Dependable is a daughter of Reliable Man who has run to a modest level in two outings to date, an unfancied 33/1 chance for her debut in a 1m fillies’ maiden at Kempton last August, merely plugging on in the straight as she finished a well-held ninth. She offered only a fraction more promise on her return in a 10f novice auction event at Windsor back in May (40/1 chance), racing in midfield and ridden along three furlongs out, more or less holding her position thereafter as she came home in seventh behind Desert Path (beaten 11 lengths). She hasn’t been seen since (missed an engagement at Goodwood early last month) and didn’t offer enough in those two runs to suggest she can win a maiden; her future lies in low-grade handicaps, for which she’ll qualify after this.
There are a couple of other newcomers aside from the selection, the first of them being Sir Michael Stoute’s Rare, a daughter of Galileo who is a full sister to Group 3-placed 8.5f 2yo winner Exemplar and 10f 3yo winner Stars At Night and a half sister to very smart 8-12f winner (three times at Group 1 level including the 1000 Guineas and Irish Oaks)/Oaks fourth Blue Bunting and three other winners, out of an unraced sister to Group 3/Listed-placed French 10.5f 3yo winner Mister Kick and half sister to French 1m 3yo Listed winner Marque Royale. This filly fetched $420,000 as a yearling at auction and makes obvious appeal on paper, related to several winners including dual Classic heroine Blue Bunting, while full brother Exemplar was a smart juvenile who finished third in the Racing Post Trophy. She starts out at a realistic level and hails from a top stable, so her claims are there for all to see.
The Roger Charlton-trained Salve Helena is a daughter of Solider Hollow who is the first foal of a maiden half sister to US 8.5f Grade 2 winner Salve Germania, Listed-placed German 11-14f winner Salve Hibernia and Listed-placed German 11f 3yo winner Salve Estelle out of a German Oaks winner who was a full sister to several winners, most notably the very smart pair Samum and Schiaparelli as well as the dam of German Derby winner Sea The Moon. This filly makes some appeal on pedigree, from a very good German family; represents an excellent stable enjoying a good run of things at present, and it’ll be interesting to see what the market makes of their representative here.
6.40 Curragh – FALCON EIGHT (nap)
The concluding maiden on the card is an interesting enough contest for the time of year, a few of these offering a reasonable amount of promise thus far and one of the newcomers in particular looking the part on pedigree.
The selection is a son of Galileo who is a three-parts brother to very smart 8-10f winner (including at Group 1 level) Free Eagle (by High Chaparral) and a half brother to high-class prolific 7-9f winner (including at Group 2/3 level) Custom Cut and high-class 8-12f winner (including at Group 2/3 level) Sapphire, out of a 7f 2yo winning full sister to high-class Irish/US 7-9f winner (including at Grade 1 level) Dress To Thrill out of an Irish 1000 Guineas winner. This colt is trained by Dermot Weld and can hardly fail to catch the eye on pedigree, closely related to connections’ Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner Free Eagle and a half brother to a couple of other high-class sorts. He has obviously taken time to come to hand and lacks the experience of the majority of his rivals, but his paper credentials are striking, and his veteran handler gets his fair share of winning newcomers; all in all, it would be rather disappointing if this well-bred son of Galileo couldn’t make up for lost time here and make a successful start to his career.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Frankincense is a son of Galileo whose debut outing came in a 10f maiden at Navan back in April (7/1 chance), waited with towards the rear of the field and pushed along on the approach to the straight, making good progress on the outer over two furlongs out to challenge inside the final furlong, finding little inside the final 100 yards and fading into fourth behind Coeur Sublime (beaten 5 lengths). He failed to improve as expected when a well-fancied 2/1 chance for a similar event here three weeks later, tracking the leader and pushed along three furlongs out, soon on the retreat and fading into sixth behind Carlo Biraghi (beaten 17½ lengths). His lack of finishing effort on both occasions pointed to some sort of issue, and it is little surprise to see him return with a tongue tie fitted; better ground and the extra distance here may also suit, so not to be written off just yet.
Joseph O’Brien’s Winner Takes Itall is a nicely-bred son of Nathaniel who debuted in a 1m maiden here three weeks ago (12/1 chance), waited with towards the rear of the field and going better than most when short of room over two furlongs out, switched sharply left over a furlong out and staying on strongly inside the final furlong to take third close home behind Somerset Maugham (beaten 1¼ lengths). For all it was nothing more than an average maiden, this gelding is almost certain to rate better than the bare form, short of room when still going well just as the race began to take shape, closing in all the way to the line. His pedigree strongly suggests the one-mile distance that day will prove to be something of a bare minimum, almost certain to be suited by the extra half mile he tackles on this occasion; open to significant improvement, it would be a surprise were he not very much involved here.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Persian Lion is a son of Leroidesanimaux who has shown a similar level of form in two outings to date, kicking off with a fifth place finish to Lucius Tiberius in a 10f maiden here back in May, slowly away and in rear, making progress two furlongs out and closing in on a place when tightened up close home. He didn’t really progess as anticipated when a 4/1 chance for a similar event at Cork three weeks later, tracking the leaders and moving up to challenge over two furlongs out, holding every chance but looking rather awkward under pressure and proving one paced inside the final furlong as he came home in fourth behind Victory Salute (beaten 6 lengths). For all it’s still early days and the promise of his debut run isn’t to be forgotten, it was little disappointing he couldn’t fare better last time given he had a clear shot at things; likely to find one or two too good once more.
The Jim Bolger-trained Theotonius is a son of Teofilo whose sole outing to date came in a 7.5f maiden at Tipperary last September (14/1 chance), settled in behind the leaders and pushed along soon after halfway, left behind from the two furlong marker and dropping away to finish in fifth behind Zabriskie (beaten 13 lengths). This colt offered only a modicum of promise that day, quickly beaten off once the race began in earnest, the front three that day going on to achieve a decent level of form. He makes his belated return to action in a winnable enough race, though he isn’t necessarily bred to relish the additional distance he tackles here as much as one or two of his rivals.
The other newcomer in the field is the Michael O’Callaghan-trained She Got Fast, a daughter of Fastnet Rock who is a full sister to 8-8.5f winner Istoora out of an unraced half sister to very useful 5-7f winner (including at Listed level) Excusez Moi and useful 8-9f winner Jamboretta out of a half sister to 15f 3yo Listed winner Arrive (later dam of smart pair Promising Lead and Visit) and the brilliant producer Hasili (dam of Dansili, Banks Hill, Intercontinental, Cacique etc.). This filly makes some appeal on pedigree, her sister just a fair handicapper but the family going back to some important racemares/producers for Juddmonte Farms; a little surprising that she kicks off over this sort of distance, but this isn’t a particularly deep race and interesting to see what the market makes of her beforehand.