Racing: Attraction to continue on winning way

Sophistication makes its annual appearance on a Newmarket racecourse this week with the advent of the July meeting on the July course, the antidote to the spartan surroundings of its bastard cousin, the Rowley Mile, just up the road.

Sophistication makes its annual appearance on a Newmarket racecourse this week with the advent of the July meeting on the July course, the antidote to the spartan surroundings of its bastard cousin, the Rowley Mile, just up the road.

Panama hats emerge into the sunlight for the first time at this congregation. The weather is more pleasant, so is the atmosphere. Finding winners, however, remains the most dastardly of chores.

The guesswork, though, appears to have been taken out of the Falmouth Stakes, which, for the first time, has been upgraded to Group One status. The reward is instantaneous as the mile contest has attracted Attraction, perhaps the biggest single draw in Flat racing today.

Mark Johnston's filly now goes for a ninth consecutive career win, at the same time attempting a fourth on the trot at Group One level. This afternoon's adventure provides a return to the environs where Attraction won the Cherry Hinton Stakes 12 months ago, the day when she gave them a start by relinquishing ground at the stalls. This is Ladies' Day in more than one sense and an occasion when Attraction steps into new territory, that of the older sisterhood. There are three more seasoned adversaries and by far the most significant of these is Soviet Song.

Johnston happily anticipates a fair fight, but would not like the contest skewed by any more rains. "She's absolutely fine and everything has been spot on. The older horses may give her a test, it's something new and we'll find out tomorrow," the Middleham trainer said yesterday. "The ground is okay provided it stays that way, but we'd like to see it drying out. We don't want any hint of soft in it."

Soviet Song sets an impressive standard. She was a neck second to Saturday's Eclipse Stakes winner, Refuse To Bend, in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. It is quite a yardstick and one which connections hope they might beat Attraction (2.55), who may have to find another career best. "Some people knocked the Queen Anne form, but everything bar Russian Rhythm that could have been there was there and our filly ran a tremendous race," a spokesman for the filly's owners, the Elite Racing Club, said yesterday. "James [Fanshawe, the trainer] was never entirely happy with her last year, but he has been much happier this year. She did take a bit of time to find her form, but she's definitely better this year. You can only worry about your own horse, but we have top-class older miler form - we'll find out at Newmarket where that stands compared to Attraction."

Jewel In The Sand (2.20) won the Albany Stakes on the same Royal Ascot day on which Attraction won the Coronation Stakes and is another unbeaten filly which should be followed.

The previous race will almost certainly feature a winner which ran in the William Hill Trophy at York last month. Traytonic (next best 1.50) finished with a flourish that day and now appears to have the better of the draw.

Another who has been awarded an apparently advantageous low berth is EVEREST (nap 1.20). The seven-year-old has some earthly credentials as well, having dropped down the weights since finishing second in this last year.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Everest

(Newmarket 1.20)

NB: Traytonic

(Newmarket 1.50)

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