LOVE SEEKS 6TH G1 WIN AT ASCOT
Love can take her Group 1 tally to six in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien’s filly enjoyed a great first half of last season, looking imperious in the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks.
Having also won the Moyglare Stud Stakes at two, her ability was never in doubt but the Ballydoyle handler was at pains to repeatedly point out she must have a decent surface.
She missed several objectives towards the end of the campaign because of rain and soft ground, including her intended target of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
When Love finally did reappear this season, O’Brien could not be accused of looking for an easy comeback as it was in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Ryan Moore set out to make all over 2000m – probably not a surprise given she had already won twice over 2400m – and she kept on finding more as Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya threw down a challenge close home.
She faces new opposition in Derby winner Adayar and John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff, but as long as the thunderstorms hold off, she will prove very difficult to beat.
Mr McCann has so far created as many column inches due to the fact he is owned by a group of Liverpool players than his exploits on the track, but that is a little unfair.
He looks to hold a very solid chance in the Pat Eddery Stakes as long as it is not asking too much of him too soon. Tom Dascombe’s colt will be having his fifth run since 1 June but he has improved with reach of them, finishing a game fourth in the Superlative Stakes last time out.
This represents a drop in grade but Jane Elliott gets a great tune out of him and can register her first Listed success.
Stuart Williams’ filly Desert Dreamer has been on the go since the Craven meeting, but she continues to improve ahead of her assignment in the Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes.
She was beaten by Richard Hannon’s System on her penultimate outing and the two meet again, but that looked a funny race with runners spread across the track.
More recently Desert Dreamer flashed home to be second to the potentially top-class Sandrine in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes – after which the handicapper put her up 6kg.
She is one of the more exposed runners in the race, but on the other hand has achieved by far the most.
Ed Walker’s faith in Matthew Flinders can be rewarded in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes.
Walker has always talked him up and he came close to repaying that faith in a Listed race at Chester last time out. The handicapper raised him 5kg on the back of that but as this was an early closing race, he can run off his old mark.
O’Brien could also be celebrating victory in the feature race at York where his Armory sets an exacting standard for Mohaafeth to aim at in the Sky Bet York Stakes.
Last seen finishing third in the aforementioned Prince of Wales’s Stakes behind Love, this represents a drop in class.
It will not be easy as William Haggas’ Mohaafeth was thought of as a leading player in the Derby before the rain prevented him from running and he showed a decisive turn of foot to win the Hampton Court Stakes.
But, he has never met a horse as good as Armory, who was only two lengths behind Magical in the Irish Champion Stakes and almost won the Cox Plate, Australia’s premier weight-for-age race.
Cairn Gorm massively outran his 50-1 odds in a hot handicap at Newmarket last time out and most hold solid claims on his return to HQ for MansionBet’s Betstival Bet 10 Get 20 Handicap.
A Group 3 winner in France last year, he faced some stiff tasks thereafter but showed recently that he might not be far away from winning once more.
Roger Varian’s Frankel colt Moshaawer holds a St Leger entry so should be winning the Collingwood Courier Driver Insurance Handicap at Newcastle to keep that dream alive. – www.sportinglife.com