British Champions Fillies & Mares Preview with Sam Preen
Ascot’s a bit of an anti-climax this year, given that most of the big guns have either retired or staying home, in a bid to avoid the awful heavy ground on offer at Ascot. I personally won’t be punting at Ascot this year (golden rule) with it likely being heavy, but the show must go on.
All prices on all races were correct as of Wednesday morning, before final decs.
Rattled off a hat trick, and ran creditably when a fast finishing fifth in last year’s Wolfreton, at Ascot, and was narrowly beaten in a Group 2 when upped to this trip at Haydock, before signing off her campaign when unseating De Sousa in the start, after the blind was removed late and she reared up. Off for well over a year, returning to chase home Hadaatha in a Listed event at Yarmouth, before going onto pick up a fair pot in a Newmarket Listed event, over this trip. Quietly fancied, but Godolphin have had a quiet year.
Ran a massive race when second to Treve in last year’s Prix de Diane, before smashing her rivals in the Irish Oaks by half a length, under Johnny Murtagh. Since exchanged hands for an eyewatering 4 million euros, to none other than “the lads”. Kept on well behind Tarfasha in this year’s Group 2 Blandford Stakes, her first run in well over a year, but failed to land a blow back up at top level in the Arc. Likely soft ground a plus, but can only be watched, at best.
Consistent sort last year, but failed to follow up her seasonal debut, where she beat future Group 1 winner Noble Mission by a neck, at Newbury. Disappointing when upped in trip at York in May, and failed to follow that up at Haydock when quickly turned out. Had a break after that, and returned as a staying on fourth at Newbury, having dropped down in trip and back into Group 3 company. Softening ground is sure to suit, but may find things touch stepping into Group 1 company.
Very useful mare, who fired off an impressive winning streak in weaker races, before disappointing at Saint-cloud in Group 3 company, but gained her confidence back at Longchamp, running well in defeat before springing a 20/1 upset in a Group 2, and did well to finish third to Cirrus in the Prix d’Ispahan, though she was well beaten when upped in trip at Deauville, and could only manage fifth dropping down to Listed class at Longchamp.
Seal Of Approval
Spring a surprise when winning this last year, a month after dumping Hayley Turner into the ground at Doncaster in last year’s Park Hill. Tried over a variety of distances this season, with her best run coming at Newbury, despite being given far too much to do under George Baker, and was blocked off for most of the race in Doncaster’s Park Hill, a race she fell in last year. Claims on her old form, but doesn’t look like she’s going to recapture it anytime soon, despite an eyecatching performance last time.
Useful handicapper, and transferred that form with a fair third to Sultanina at Haydock, and fifth Pomology a month later (Group 1 winner and runner up), before picking up a deserved success at Newbury in a Listed, back in August, before routing her rivals by 5 lengths at Doncaster, over further. Drop back in trip is ideal, but she’s not at her best on rain softened ground, let alone heavy.
Picked up three Group races for Andre Fabre last year, and placed in three at the highest level, but hasn’t been the same since moving to Saeed bin Suroor this year, picking up only two Listed events, but didn’t disgrace herself when a distant third in the Yorkshire Oaks, billed as what should’ve been a walkover for Taghrooda. Went down fighting at Newbury, dropped in trip, but that was only a Group 3, and this looks too tough for her, stepping back into the top level.
We’ll Go Walking
Comfortable winner on her debut for Jim Bolger, but failed to follow that up on any starts, but bounced back in a Listed event when moved to Johnny Murtagh, twice finishing runner up, in a Listed, then a Group 3, before a length and a quarter third at Nottingham, when left for dead by Secret Jesture. Down the field over this trip in the Lancashire Oaks, and bitterly disappointing when tried in cheekpieces in a Gowran Listed event in August, and was tried with different headgear at Galway, when managing only seventh. Safely ignored.
A bloggers nightmare – a Hamdan runner. Comfortable winner of her maiden, over 7 furlongs, and did well to finish third to Volume when upped to 10 furlongs, before running out a comfortable Listed success at Yarmouth. Followed that up with a gallant effort in defeat at Longchamp, in the Prix de l’Opera, running on well, but wasn’t doing enough before eventually edging right, again. Step up in trip sure to suit, but maybe not this early in her career.
Spring a serious upset when running away with her maiden on her sole appearance last year, and picked up a Group 3 over 10.5 furlongs at York on her comeback. Well beaten tenth in the Oaks, staying on past beaten horses, and was quickly outpaced when it mattered in the Vermeille. Unlikely to be landing an impact, here.
Conclusion: Last year’s winner SEAL OF APPROVAL has failed to fire this season, faring no better than third, in the Geoffrey Freer, and was last seen a staying on fourth, when seven and a half lengths behind Silk Sari at Doncaster. She has claims on her old form, with rain softened ground a plus, and looks capable of reversing the form withSilk Sari, who smashed her over further at Doncaster.
The latter was supplemented for this on Monday, but she’s untested on ground worse than soft, and was a well beaten third that day. The lightly raced Hadaatha will appreciate the step up in trip, but has obvious ground worries, having only raced on good. Any sun would be ideal for Saeed bin Suroor’s Albasharah, whilst Chicquitahas form on heavy from her days in France.
Seal Of Approval @ 8/1 (Betfred, Ladbrokes)
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