The Rowley Mile is thrown wide open today to accommodate the maximum field of 35 for the Cambridgeshire, yet the Group One contests, with fields of just eight and seven, are likely to hang on the running of two fillies with a notorious propensity to stray from the straight and narrow.
The protagonists of the duel on the July Course between Sky Lantern and Elusive Kate, who prevailed over her younger rival in the Falmouth Stakes when forcing her to tack along the same wayward course taken by the winner of her own accord, renew rivalry in the Sun Chariot Stakes. Many felt in the aftermath that the neck verdict should have been reversed, with Sky Lantern the moral victor, but the authorities remained unmoved, even after an appeal, adjudging Elusive Kate, on whom William Buick had stolen a march, the winner on merit.
John Gosden’s filly, four times a Group One winner, is a course specialist on Deauville’s straight mile where, Timeform suggests, she benefits from a running rail which prevents her from hanging to her left. She has a good record at Newmarket as well, finishing second in the Sun Chariot last year after stumbling at the start and losing a shoe. With the stalls in the centre, much may depend on whether habitual front-runner Elusive Kate (3.10 Newmarket) can steer an orderly course for the stands rail. If so, she should again hold a tactical edge over Sky Lantern, whose best form has all been shown in large fields.
Kiyoshi’s antics, in winning the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot despite hanging across the width of the track, and finishing a demoted third behind Rizeena for a barging match in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, give rise to greater doubts. Her hitherto unheralded stablemate Chriselliam gained a 28-1 success in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket yesterday with a last-to-first run to which Rizeena had no riposte. The winner’s part-owner, the former champion jockey Willie Carson, said: “It wasn’t a surprise. She’s a filly that Charlie [Hills] has always felt was a good filly and, while she’s never worked with Kiyoshi, he has always said she’s as good as her.”
Even so, the French challenger Vorda looks the more solid citizen in the Cheveley Park Stakes, yielding only to the American colt No Nay Never in four starts. Princess Noor (2.35 Newmarket) found rather more to beat her in between her debut win and success in Ascot’s Princess Margaret Stakes, but she was galvanised by blinkers then and can be placed upsides the leading juvenile fillies on that form. Her absence since – while sickness shut down the stable of Roger Varian, now in rude health – explains her price. Johnny Murtagh comes over from Ireland for the mount, one of only two he takes on the card.
Connections of leading Cambridgeshire hopes such as Ascription and Top Notch Tonto have been gnashing their teeth over the fast ground, but the latter’s trainer, Brian Ellison, may have been hiding the winner in plain sight on bottom weight, the progressive Pacific Heights (3.50 Newmarket).Reuse content