Falmouth Clash to Savour on Friday

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Saffron Beach | The Jockey Club

Now that the summer solstice is behind us, the best of the Classic generation will frequently be tested against their elders and when it comes to tying together the varying strands in the fillies and mares' miling division, Newmarket's G1 Tattersalls Falmouth S. has it all on Friday. If the G1 Coronation S. helped to sort out the pecking order among the 3-year-olds, the G2 Duke of Cambridge S. also at Royal Ascot only served to muddy the waters when it comes to the more advanced in age. It is always tempting to side with the younger contingent and there is much to suggest that Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never) and Snow Lantern (GB) (Frankel {GB}) have significantly more to offer having gone one-two in the Royal meeting's Coronation June 18. Oisin Murphy has an innate understanding of the former, who has now carried Jeff Smith's silks to two top-level victories having also annexed the Cheveley Park S. on the Rowley Mile track here in September. “I've sat on her since Royal Ascot and she's in great form,” he said. “She proved herself over a mile in the Coronation S. and I hope and think she can uphold that form here.”

Alcohol Free's trainer Andrew Balding added,  “It looks a proper race, but Alcohol Free is in good form and we hope she'll be as effective on the faster conditions as she was on the heavy ground at Ascot. We were delighted with her performance in the Coronation, so we go to Newmarket full of hope. We're renewing rivalry with a couple and there are some very good older fillies in the race as well–it's a proper Group 1 race.”

'TDN Rising Star' Snow Lantern was too free, met trouble in running and still finished just 1 1/2 lengths off Alcohol Free in the Coronation so it is understandable that the ever-bullish Richard Hannon is in confident mood. Her defeat at the hands of the impressive Primo Bacio (Ire) (Awtaad {Ire}) in the Listed Michael Seely Memorial S. over this trip at York May 14 has been put down to a tendency to over-race, but with the ground riding fast on the July Course and no obvious pacemakers here Rockcliffe Stud's prized homebred will have to be far more tractable. “The winner won well at Ascot, but we look forward to taking her on again in the Falmouth,” he said. “We didn't really have the rub of the green that day. Hopefully the ground will be better this time, which will help our filly.”

Primo Bacio has been off the track since beating Snow Lantern at York in May, having been withdrawn from the Coronation Stakes on account of the testing conditions. David Ward's bay, who was taken out of the Coronation after the deluge, has to prove that her York win was no aberration but her lethal turn of acceleration will be valuable in what could turn out to be a tactical affair. “It was a really difficult decision to take her out–we didn't know that she would not have liked that ground, because she's by Awtaad who loved the mud,” trainer Ed Walker admitted. “Lots of people were questioning my decision on that basis, but knowing the filly I just didn't feel it was right. She is a good-moving filly with a really smart turn of foot and I think running her on a stiff mile in real bottomless ground and putting a massive emphasis on stamina just wasn't right. Andrea Atzeni got on seriously well with her at York and he rides her again, so that's good news. I've known Andrea for a long time and use him a lot when available, and he's a brilliant rider. He's got that cool and it suits a filly like that really well.”

Dominant over Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) and Alcohol Free when the ground was riding similarly slick in the May 2 G1 1000 Guineas, Ballydoyle's Mother Earth (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) is back in action again. Her two subsequent efforts when second and third respectively on unsuitably soft going in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at ParisLongchamp May 16 and the Coronation showed her to be as game as she is classy and she remains unexposed on this trip and ground. “This is a very good and deep renewal of the Falmouth and it will take plenty of winning,” Ryan Moore said. “My filly obviously ran well when third to Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern in the Coronation S. last time, but I'd like to think she is a bit better than she showed there. Her 1000 Guineas win and subsequent second in France clearly mark her out as a high-class operator and she acts on quick and deep ground, so she is versatile on that score with more rain about.”

There is little between Indie Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), Lady Bowthorpe (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), Queen Power (Ire) (Shamardal) and Champers Elysees (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus}) on the form of the Duke of Cambridge June 16, where the Cheveley Park's mercurial grey had things fall into place. Supplemented for this, Indie Angel will need to prove that her Royal Ascot career-best was not a one-off. “If it had closed a day after the Duke of Cambridge, rather than the day before, she would have been in it,” the Stud's managing director Chris Richardson said. “She bounces off quick ground, so we're just hoping there's no more rain. She's in good form. John [Gosden] is very happy with her and hopefully Frankie [Dettori] can work his magic again.”

In the nine-furlong G2 Dahlia S. here May 2, it was Lady Bowthorpe and Queen Power who had Indie Angel's measure and with the former going on to chase home Palace Pier (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in Newbury's G1 Lockinge S. May 15 she narrowly sets the standard.

In the card's six-furlong G2 Duchess of Cambridge S., there is a fascinating rematch between the June 18 G3 Albany S. one-two-three Sandrine (GB) (Bobby's Kitten), Hello You (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and Oscula (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}) with this ground offering a vastly contrasting scenario. With the Royal meeting only just surviving an inspection on that day, it is impossible to know how the trio or the well-beaten 'TDN Rising Star' Flotus (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) will perform here but it is still a learning process for the raw juvenile fillies at this stage.

Interestingly, Thursday's G2 Tattersalls July S. was fought out by a trio who swerved the fast ground prevalent on the first three days of Royal Ascot and it will be fascinating to see how the fillies fare with the Albany run on slow ground. Sandrine's trainer Andrew Balding said, “I've been very happy with her since Ascot. Ground conditions will be very different and that's a question mark, but she seems in good form and I thought she was very impressive in the Albany, so fingers crossed for a good run.”

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