3.20 PontefractWeatherbys TBA Pipalong Stakes (Listed) | 1m | 4yo+ fillies & mares| RTV
Plenty of powerful southern yards have targeted this Listed event in search of valuable black type for their fillies, with the ratings headed by the John Gosden-trained Scentasia.She has 3lb in hand of next-best Audarya on official figures but needs to put a below-par reappearance run firmly behind her.
The daughter of Cape Cross failed to fire as 7-4 favourite when only tenth of 14 behind Nazeef in a similar event at Kempton last month.Scentasia is better judged on a smooth Lingfield win last November when she beat Velma Valento by a length and three-quarters.If she reproduces that sort of form she is definitely the one they all have to beat from an excellent launch-pad in stall two.
The jump from top handicap company to Listed races is relatively small nowadays and Salayel, runner-up to Sir Busker in the fiercely competitive Silver Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot last time out, merits serious consideration.That was a career-best performance from Roger Varian’s still lightly raced Bated Breath filly and she looks capable of taking advantage if Scentasia puts in another below-par performance.Posted finished in front of both Audarya and Scentasia at Kempton.
However, their respective prices that day were 33-1, 12-1 and 7-4, so it would be no surprise to see the form turned round.Romola, behind that trio in 12th place at the Sunbury track, proved highly progressive in the second part of last season, and is clearly better than her reappearance suggests.
What they say:
James Fanshawe, trainer of Audarya
It was a messy race at Kempton last time and she didn't get much luck in running, but it was her first run of the year and she seems in good form. She's always been a nice filly and hopefully she's progressed since. She came out of Kempton well.
Sylvester Kirk, trainer of Bubble And Squeak
She's taking her chance for a little bit of black type and a stiff mile should suit and help, while it would be a massive bonus for her if there was lots of rain.
Tom Dascombe, trainer of Iconic Choice
It's funny how courses suit horses and she finished five and a half lengths behind Nazeef at Kempton and then five and a quarter lengths behind her in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Kempton just isn't her track. Ascot plays to her strengths and I think Pontefract will do as well. I was very pleased with her at Ascot and she has a strong chance in the right level of race.
William Jarvis, trainer of Lady Bowthorpe
She's rated well inferior to everything else in the race by the handicapper, but I think she's progressive and she didn't really get the run of the race at Newmarket last time. She's a half-sister to Speak In Colours, who has won two Group races in Ireland recently, and if we could nick a bit of black type it would make her a much more valuable filly. She's pretty nice and we'd like a drop of rain.
Luke Lillingston, representative of Merriebelle Stable, part-owners of Natalie's Joy
She had a lot of time off and would have needed her first run at Kempton last month. We're hoping for better as a result of that and she's a very talented filly who was a brilliant debut winner as a juvenile when she was also a stakes winner, beating a subsequent Gimcrack winner [Emaraaty Ana]. She's got to come back and prove it now after that time off. Physically she's improved a hell of a lot from last year, not so much from two to three, but this year from three to four. This will hopefully answer some questions. Mark [Johnston, trainer] said earlier in the year that he wondered whether a mile and a quarter might be her trip. We haven't discussed that at length, but Pontefract is a stiff mile.
Chris Richardson, racing manager to Cheveley Park Stud, owners of Romola
I suppose we were initially a bit disappointed with her at Kempton, but she's been working well at home since. Things didn't go that well for her at Kempton and Ryan [Moore] was pretty easy on her and Sir Michael [Stoute] is adamant we've kept her in training, as a Pivotal filly, to get some black type. She's come out of Kempton okay and I don't think that was a true reflection of her ability, so hopefully we'll see an improved performance. The ground shouldn't worry her but Pivotal's progeny quite often like a bit of ease in the ground.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, owner of Scentasia
I think she should start favourite if you put a line through her last run at Kempton, which I think you can do, although Roger Varian's filly Salayel could be a danger. Scentasia has won a couple of Listed races on the all-weather and should have a good chance if she adapts as well on grass.