The big race at Newmarket this Friday is the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes, a group 1 race for fillies and mares, run over 8 furlongs. The line up is a little disappointing with only 4 taking part, the absence of Duntle a particular disappointment. We still have the first two from last years race, and with the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes winner also lining up, its still a decent affair. If you plan on having a bet on the Falmouth, why not open a new account and avail of the free bet that goes with it?
Sky Lantern won the 1000 Guineas on her second start this season. She just got up late having initially looked a little outpaced when the leaders went for home. On form she seemed to show a good bit of improvement in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. It may prove wise not to take her impressive 4l win entirely at face value as a few of her main rivals had excuses, and Sky Lantern had an advantage in being held up off what was a very fast pace. Just the Judge had a wide trip all the way and was much closer to the pace, while Big Break was right up there on the gallop, and went to the front off the bend. Its little surprise she failed to maintain the effort. The 2nd horse home was 33/1 shot Kenhope, who hadn’t previously looked up to group 1 standard, and the most obvious conclusion to draw from the race is that Sky Lantern didn’t improve much, if at all, and it was just the run of the race that made it appear as if she did.
Elusive Kate was 2nd in the Falmouth on her seasonal debut last season, beaten just a 1/2l by tomorrow’s rival, Giofra. Elusive Kate was entitled to need the run that day, and she improved on that effort when beating Golden Lilac at Deauville. She made all that day, and that bit of form and her 3rd to Excelebration, also at Deauville is at least as good as anything Sky Lantern has done. Elusive Kate has had a prep run this year, a very encouraging 4th to Declaration of War at Ascot. She came on for her first run last year, and wouldn’t need to improve much to go very close here. Another huge factor in her favour is she is likely to get the lead without having to do much, and that will mean she should have a head start on the favourite when the race heats up. Elusive Kate has never raced on officially fast ground but while the going at Ascot was called Good, it was surely on the fast side, and I don’t foresee it being a problem.
Giofra won this last year, and while she’s been beaten in her 5 subsequent outings, most of them have still been respectable form. The fast ground would be a worry for her though, as her best run was when beating Elusive Kate on soft. Her overall form is also not quite as good as Elusive Kate’s, and I expect that one to gain her revenge tomorrow.
Purr Along has looked short of this class a few times and I don’t really see much reason that should change tomorrow. She came 8th to Sky Lantern in the Coronation, staying on okay having been last turning in. She was only just behind Sky Lantern at that stage though, and didn’t shape as if any better than the result.
Both Sky Lantern’s best efforts have come in well run races, which ended with her rivals covering the last 2 furlongs slower than the race average, this is very unlikely to be the case tomorrow, with Elusive Kate likely to get an uncontested lead. The race could turn into a bit of a sprint, and apart from being at a tactical disadvantage if that’s the case, Sky Lantern has looked more like a strong galloper over a mile, than a horse that will be suited by a test of speed at it. On that basis, and the fact that Elusive Kate’s best form looks at least as good as Sky Lantern’s , I don’t understand the odds on quotes for the Guineas winner, with Elusive Kate as big as 5/2 with