Realm looks within bounds of probability
As ever, by no means all the swaying on Ladies' Day here was wholly the result of precipitous heels. But the difference between cosmetics and class will be of still greater pertinence today, with regard to the females convening on the track itself. For the Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes presents punters with a classic dilemma, between the substance of Regal Realm and the seductive style of a filly named, of all things, Fallen For You.
The latter made a dazzling debut at Newmarket six weeks ago. A naïve break left her in a pretty hopeless position behind a quickening pace, but she came bounding through for an emphatic success. She has the breeding, too, as a daughter of Dansili from a good family, and her trainer's judgement in bringing her here commands automatic respect.
Simply in terms of value, however, the glamour of Fallen For You may mean that the odds become too generous about Regal Realm (3.00). Admittedly, she only scrambled home in Group company at Goodwood last time, but she did well to get up at all, having been caught in traffic just as a slow gallop picked up. She promises better still over this extra furlong, and even her maiden form is copper-bottomed, having pulled two subsequent Group winners clear of the pack on her debut in May. The only concern is that she has had just 13 days to recuperate from her exertions at Goodwood.
The one filly to have beaten Regal Realm so far is among several to take on some useful colts in the Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes. Angels Will Fall (1.25) must be excused a disappointing run at York, but she pulled too hard and can confirm that speed is her forte dropped to this trip.
The other Group race on the card, the Stobart Doncaster Cup, volunteers an obvious favourite in Opinion Poll, who has twice seen off similar fields at Goodwood and York since proving best of the rest behind Fame And Glory at Royal Ascot. But Blue Bajan (2.25) deserves fidelity, despite finishing behind Opinion Poll on all three occasions. The veteran can be indulged a little inconsistency, but has been better than ever since joining the remarkable David O'Meara and was bearing down strongly close to home when conceding 3lb at Goodwood. If on song, this stiffer test can enable him to reverse the form.
With the final crescendo still to come, the meeting has built steadily on a thin start. Things were already less tame yesterday, most obviously in the stands, where the first Group race of the week drew shrill excitement as Alanza won through by a neck and a head. John Oxx notoriously sends horses over from the Curragh only when he is pretty certain they can pay for their passage home, and this filly was his first runner in Britain this season. Her jockey, Johnny Murtagh, reckons that Alanza "is only just getting the hang of things and could be a Group One filly next year".
The Irish also plundered the big sales prize, Joseph O'Brien limbering up for his ride on Seville tomorrow with a polished display for his father on Reply. O'Brien Jnr, whose height means that weight will almost inevitably become an issue before long, made the fascinating admission that he believes his ultimate destiny will be over jumps.
He is certainly a talented youth, regardless of the benefits and burdens of his surname. But the darling of the crowd unmistakably remained Frankie Dettori, whose flying success on Meeznah in the Park Hill Stakes was received with due rapture, his supporters' squeals ringing out with fully two furlongs to run. David Lanigan, Meeznah's trainer, said that this race had been her target "all year" but her Melbourne Cup entry remains rather more speculative for now.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Bourne (1.55 Doncaster) Has long craved a stiffer test of stamina, and now steps up fully four furlongs.
Kanaf (4.10 Doncaster) Could break out of handicaps soon, judged on a blazing finish at York last time.
One to watch
Broughtons Paradis (Willie Musson) Remains in the form of her life, going well when meeting traffic at York on Sunday.
Where the money's going
Masked Marvel is 7-1 from 8-1 with the sponsors for the Ladbrokes St Leger tomorrow.
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