ANYONE who witnessed Mark Johnston’s two-year-old filly Lumiere waltz away with her maiden at Newmarket’s July meeting will understand why she is such a warm order for this afternoon’s Lowther Stakes (2.30pm).
It wasn’t what the daughter of Shamardal beat that day, it was the effortless way she quickened away from her seven rivals with six lengths to spare at the line.
She was immediately promoted to favourite for next year’s QIPCO 1,000 Guineas on the back of that performance and will be even shorter than the 10/1 currently available if successful today.
Don’t get me wrong, she could well be very special. In fact, those close to Mark Johnston suggest that the Middleham team already talk about her in the same breath as their 2004 1,000 Guineas winner Attraction.
However, we have only seen her on the racecourse once and, at just 5/4 with Betway, she seems very short.
There isn’t much between Besharah and Easton Angel on their Cherry Hinton form and that explains why they are both 9/2 joint second favourites.
If forced to choose between them, I’d narrowly side with Besharah as she seems to be improving with every run and looks better suited to this trip on an easy surface.
Yet, even though my head tells me Besharah, my heart pushes me towards Kevin Ryan’s ASHADIHAN at 7/1 now that the rain has arrived.
Her trainer has made no secret about the high regard in which she is held and she ran a blinder to finish second to Illuminate in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot on ground that would have been too lively for her.
Back on a surface with a little more give, I expect her to improve again and she looks the each-way value alternative to the red-hot favourite.
Finding the winner of the 20-runner mile handicap (3.05pm) looks no easy task, but the two that immediately caught my eye were William Haggas’ Mange All and Godolphin’s MUSADDAS with marginal preference for the latter.
Mange All is almost certainly very well-handicapped, but hasn’t been seen since the Betway Lincoln back in March.
Musaddas, on the other hand, has fitness on his side and, armed with a visor for the first time, can go close at 7/1 with Betway.
ASHADIHAN e/w 2.30pm York
MUSADDAS e/w 3.05pm York