After that drab first afternoon, this meeting burst into flower yesterday. The Ladies' Day crowd played their part, albeit not everyone seemed aware of the difference between stilettos and stilts, but a still more decorative exhibition was provided by Rainbow View. At some point, she is going to find a rival capable of demanding some grit as well, but for now she remains the most seductive young filly on these shores.
In these awkward times for British trainers, indeed, she is already restoring hope for the 2009 Classics. She will no doubt have to see off stronger challenges from abroad, however, if she is to absolve the sponsors of the charge made by John Gosden after they cut her to just 3-1 for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas next May. "That's a bit silly," he said. "People should grow up. Everyone knows that next year is a hell of a long way off." In fairness, she does have an authentic stamp of class. Rainbow View had won her first two races at Newmarket, by an aggregate of 12 lengths. Though ostensibly raised in grade for the Robin Hood Airport May Hill Stakes, she was once again able to pick off her rivals entirely at her leisure, coasting from last to first under Jimmy Fortune to beat Snoqualmie Girl two lengths.
If you wanted to cavil, you really had to squint. Admittedly it soon became obvious, when she entered the parade ring, why Gosden had started her career at his local track. She was not so much on her toes as prancing, and apparently she requires careful handling at home, as well.
"She's a lively filly in every way," her trainer observed. "You can't just stroll her in with the rest of the string and ask her to do the same as everything else. That wouldn't be her scene. She's pretty feisty, but I wouldn't call her anything other than a very willing filly."
Certainly she settled obligingly in the race, though she must still learn how to respond when finally introduced to the ache of genuine competition. It may also be worth remembering that Spacious had made a very similar impression when outclassing her rivals for the same race last year. She went on to run very well in the Guineas, beaten only by Natagora, but essentially returns from a break on today's card still in search of fulfilment.
Rainbow View's physique, being considerably less spacious, is unlikely to need the same patience. "We were very concerned that she was carrying a 3lb penalty in this holding ground," Gosden said. "That made it a stiff old mile out there, with a bit of headwind as well, and Jimmy dropped her out and 'spotted' them all eight lengths. She has come through nicely on the bridle – he didn't want to see how far she could stretch clear in that ground, he just wanted to win it under hand." Gosden had just flown in from the yearling sales at sultry Keeneland. "It would be nice to see a bit of sunshine in this country," he said. "But unless it's absolutely bottomless, we'd hope to go for the Fillies' Mile at Ascot later in the month." Last year he had come here to win the Ladbrokes St Leger itself with Lucarno, who is by the same American stallion, Dynaformer. This time the final Classic will restore unsparing attention to the 34-year quest of his Newmarket neighbour, Sir Michael Stoute, for a first Leger. Stoute saddles three runners tomorrow, and yesterday Ryan Moore caught the bookmakers on the hop by choosing to ride Doctor Fremantle, rather than Conduit. The latter will now be ridden by Frankie Dettori.
Johnny Murtagh partners the favourite, Frozen Fire, in preference to remaining on home soil for the Irish version, for which his employer, Aidan O'Brien, declared both Septimus and Yeats. It appears that Yeats was only left in the race as a precaution, however, Seamus Heffernan being nominated for Septimus and the mount on the triple Gold Cup winner left vacant. Yeats could instead go to the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp, which is also on the agenda for Allegretto, runaway winner of the Goffs/DBS Park Hill Stakes yesterday.
Honolulu is clearly several tiers below Yeats and Septimus, but such is the depth of staying talent at Ballydoyle nowadays that he certainly has the ability to win the National Express Doncaster Cup this afternoon. After a half-hearted effort at Goodwood, it is admittedly hard to know whether he will be disposed to do so, but it is worth taking a chance that he will appreciate a break from firm ground.
He was an impressive winner in the mud last year, and nor are conditions likely to hinder his young stablemate, Golden Sword, who comes over for a maiden after showing neon promise last month on his debut on soft ground over seven furlongs at Tipperary.
Nap: Golden Sword
(Doncaster 2.40)Reuse content