John Gosden is a very astute judge when it comes to fillies and his decision to attack the Sweet Solera Stakes with Pennywhistle at Newmarket on Saturday is worth heeding.
She ranks amongst a trio of fillies’ carrying our hopes this weekend!
This Fillies’ Group 3 has a wide open look to it, with eight runners due to line up, perhaps one of the reasons Gosden arrives here with his twice-raced daughter of Iffraaj.
She made a pleasing start on the AW at Kempton, showing clear promise, and duly took that form up a notch to win over C&D at Headquarters next time out. She is bred to be decent and having been keen early in a muddling race, her win around here was all the more to be enthused about.
She’s likely to get more pace to aim at now, and that is expected to suit.
The two with main credentials on form are Main Edition and La Pelosa, who finished first and second respectively in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Both runners have taken backwards steps since and as such are worth taking on now.
Ajrar will be seeking to give trainer Richard Hannon a third successive win in this event and finished in front of La Pelosa last time at Sandown, though that form needs improving on.
With Gosden’s judgement in mind and Frankie Dettori in the plate, Pennywhistle can step forward and scoop this Group 3 prize.
Ed Walker’s filly Agrotera produced one of the more eye-catching Royal Ascot performances when coming from last to first to win the Sandringham Stakes in June.
It was a typical Jamie Spencer ride, ice-cool and patient, and his filly eventually put her 22 rivals to the sword with something to spare, earning an 11lb ratings-hike for doing so.
Connections have now plumped for the Listed Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock instead of a handicap and, with more to come, Agrotera is fancied to take this step up in class in her stride.
Mick Channon’s Koeman is developing a liking for Ascot this season and was a winner over this C&D a fortnight ago. He only had a neck to spare at the line but he got there nicely enough and a 4lb rise in the weights might not be sufficient to halt his ambitions now.
He beat a pair of improving younger horses that afternoon in Bajan Gold and Sleeping Lion and he also had plenty of the rivals he meets here behind when finishing second over C&D in May.
He’s going to prove a tough nut to crack one more and should be in the scrap close home.
We’ll have to wait until Sunday for our third filly but the Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri is worth it.
Winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas early in the season, she produced the performance of the summer so far when she spread-eagled the field at Ascot in June to land the Coronation Stakes by a wide margin. The Falmouth has since been tucked away and a Group 1 four-timer looms in France on Sunday.
The Prix Jacques Le Marois appears hers for the taking and a price close to even-money makes her good value.
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