Sky Sports Racing’s Hayley Moore talks us through Saturday’s Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day.
Albaflora (Ralph Beckett)
Albaflora was last seen coming second to Snowfall back in August in the Yorkshire Oaks. Her run in the Buckhound Stakes is a big positive and she runs well fresh. Some of these fillies and mares have been busy but she has had a nice break.
Tribal Craft (Andrew Balding)
Tribal Craft is one of two Andrew Balding runners she has had a busy season and run with credit. She was ninth in the Ebor, without getting the clearest of runs. Last time out she was quite keen in the Park Hill, it was a better effort back in May at York when she won the Group Three Bronte Cup well and she settled that day.
Her best run was at Goodwood when second to Wonderful Tonight in the Lillie Langtry. A return to a soft surface could prove key to her being involved at the finish.
Eshaada (Roger Varian)
Eshaada is an interesting, unexposed runner. She flopped badly when last seen at York in the Yorkshire Oaks so needs to bounce back from a bad run, but if she can then her form from her previous run – when second to Loving Dream in the Ribblesdale – could bring her in to the mix.
She did race keenly that day and still ran with credit so I would worry about her being too fresh as the good Ascot run was just a month after her victory at Newbury, although that was off a break too. But this is another step up into Group One company.
Invite (Andrew Balding)
Invite also represents Andrew Balding now and she stepped up in trip to over 12 furlongs for the first time at Chester last month when landing a Listed event. This will be a big step up in class.
She was fifth in the Italian Oaks but the extra trip at Ascot should suit her on her first visit to the track.
Lady Hayes (Roger Varian)
Lady Hayes has to be respected on some of her efforts this season, even without a victory. Her run in the Lancashire Oaks behind Alpinista is the obvious one to focus on after what that filly has gone on to achieve.
Lady Hayes put in a strong performance in Group Two company on soft when out-running her odds behind the favourite. I’m happy to forgive her last run on the sounder surface back down in trip, so back up in distance and soft ground could see her to good effect once again.
La Joconde (Aidan O’Brien)
La Joconde needs to bounce back after disappointing in the Pride Stakes last time out. I was expecting more from her after a decent effort in the Prix Vermeille behind Teona. She has also had a very busy, long season but Aidan does make his fillies hardy.
Mystery Angel (George Boughey)
Mystery Angel has had a very busy year. Her second in the Oaks is the best form she holds. Her last run in the Group Three at Newmarket was fine, leading before weakening late on. I don’t think she comes into this with good enough form to land a Group One.
Snowfall (Aidan O’Brien)
Snowfall has put in some incredible runs this season, winning the Musidora, the Oaks, the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks. She still ran well in defeat when a shock second to the well thought-of and progressive Teona at Longchamp.
Snowfall encountered the heaviest ground of her career when sixth last time out in the Arc. If she comes back to what we saw earlier on this season then she is to be feared, but she has had a busy season.
In the absence of Love and the progressive Free Wind, the verdict goes to previous course and distance winner ALBAFLORA. Ralph Beckett’s filly has the benefit of freshness on her side, and that may be enough to see her reverse Yorkshire Oaks form with Snowfall, who comes into this on the back of a heavy campaign.