I’m short in time today, hence for now only focus on British Champions Day – Wolverhampton selections maybe later on today. Saying that, still looking for a first winner in October. Tough times…. and as my two selections are massive prices I can’t realistically hope that it’ll change anytime soon!
2.45: G1 Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, 1m3½f
Looks a coin toss on form and ratings between four fillies, namely favourite Star Catcher, Oaks winner Anapurna and the Aiden O’Brien duo Fleeting and Delphina.
You can make solid cases for either of these, but the forgotten horse in this quartet is Delphina. Yes, she is yet to win on the highest level, and only three starts back was beaten in a Group 3 at Cork. The drop in trip may not be totally ideal, but then I think over this course with soft underfoot conditions it might well be.
For a start Delphina is drawn well, so she should be able to settle close enough to the pace which I feel is an advantage here. She will not have to work hard for that, unlike, for example at Longchamp when last seen where was drawn widest.
That performance in the Prix de Royallieu was an excellent performance, given she ran into plenty of trouble in the closing stages. It was also a nice progression from her excellent runner-up performance at Doncaster in the Hill Stakes.
That particular performance is interesting as Delphina ran to a 105 topspeed rating, which is the highest in this field. Granted it came on fast ground, but she proved in France that soft ground is no issue.
Given she has yet to win beyond maiden company she has a little bit to find with the market principles. However on official ratings that is a mere one or two pounds. If she still has something to give after a busy second half of the season I see her going really close today.
10pts win – Delphina @ 24/1 MB
3.20: G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, 1m
With the tough going likely to slow down things significantly and the ground potentially suitable – well, certainly a change – I’m quite intrigued by Phoenix Of Spain today, given he also has a new jockey on board.
He was so impressive in the Irish 2000 Guineas, though hasn’t kicked on from there, although you couldn’t say he’s been running poorly, given he contested top class opposition on the highest level, and despite not coming close to win clocked 93 and 94 tospeed ratings in his last three runs.
That is far off the whopping 105 achieved at the Curragh, or the 101 at last years Futurity Trophy (on softish conditions!), but shows Phoenix Of Spain hasn’t gone dramatically backwards.
On the plus side also he might be a little bit fresher than some of the more fancied runners here. I hope he can overcome the wider than ideal draw and settle up with the pace. If so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him outrunning his price tag.
10pts win – Phoenix Of Spain @ 25/1 MB