Integral all set to confirm superiority in Falmouth
Rain, rain, go away. The ground at Newmarket is softening by the hour and a lot of today’s races could turn into a battle of who handles conditions the best, rather than a battle of who is genuinely the best horse on the day. That’s not exactly the ideal scenario to have, not least when you’re trying to gauge the races correctly, so take most (if not it all!) of what I say with a pinch of salt.
The showpiece event on day two of the July meeting is the Falmouth Stakes, a Group 1 for fillies and mares being run over the 1-mile trip. Some cracking animals have won the race in times gone by and although only seven runners turn up today, this would be a really solid renewal were it not for the ground (it’ll hinder plenty). Anyway, we’ll take a look at it and see what can be seen.
If the ground remained on the quick side, we’d all be looking forward to the latest edition of the Integral vs Sky Lantern battle and it’s a real pity that both are unlikely to run up to their absolute best on the surface, even though their best may not be needed for either of them to win.
It was the Sir Michael Soute trained Integral that came out on top – quite dramatically so – when the pair met in the Duke Of Cambridge at Royal Ascot, that coming on good-to-firm going. Sky Lantern was a shade disappointing in fifth place, 5.5-lengths behind the winner, but it was the Hannon filly’s first outing of the season (said to badly need it) and she had a 5lb penalty to make things even tougher, so you could be inclined to forgive such a performance – which wasn’t terrible, considering – whilst expecting a lot better this time around.
Sky Lantern really should improve for that physically, but she’ll certainly have to and has a bit to prove for the moment, not least because she’d act on a road and tackles what could be a bit of a swamp. You can apply similar comments to Integral, who has achieved all of her best form on a properly quick surface, but we do at least know that the 4-year-old is at the top of her game and, given her breeding, would have no issue with getting further than this bare mile; that’ll come in very handy in stamina-demanding conditions and if she’s able to travel with her usual authority on this ground (therein lies the risk; it’s difficult to know whether she can or will), a first Group 1 success could be coming her way.
At the end of the day, it’s all going to be about who handles the ground and who doesn’t. I suppose, given that comment, Purr Along would have to be of interest despite having 4-lengths to make up on Integral from their meeting at Royal Ascot. Johnny Murtagh’s 4-year-old will act on the ground, that’s a certainty based on her Curragh Group 3 success in May, but she has been Pricewised and any value in the odds long disappeared as far as I’m concerned. At circa 2/1, it’s Stoute’s Integral that makes the most appeal to me, that despite the obvious ground worries, and I’ll have a small nibble at those odds. There’s more to come from the filly and she has a few attributes that’ll stand her in good stead today.
Selection for the Falmouth (2:40 Newmarket):
Integral – 2/1, available with StanJames.
Signup to our RSS feed