Timeform's Mark Milligan previews Sunday's action at Woodbine, including the Canadian International...
As is usually the case, there is a strong European challenge for the big races at Woodbine's premier meeting of the year, and the shippers can get off to a fine start with Cotai Glory strongly fancied to record his first win of 2017 in this Grade 2 contest. Charlie Hills' five-year-old has shown several times this year that plenty of ability still remains, notably when third to Marsha and Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe and when second last time to Take Cover in Group 3 company at Newbury. While he has been sparsely tried at six furlongs in his career (probably best at shorter), Cotai Glory should get away with it in a race that lacks a bit of depth.
Selection: Win back Cotai Glory
Tough to get away from the claims of Roger Varian's Nezwaah, who has upwards of 6 lb in hand of this field on current Timeform ratings. A very smart performer at her best, Nezwaah ran out a convincing winner of the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in July, beating Rain Goddess (who reopposes here) by three and a quarter lengths. Excuses can be made for her fourth behind Enable at York last time (softer ground/longer trip) and the conditions she faces on Sunday should be ideal.
Rain Goddess should once again be on the premises, this tough and consistent filly usually brings her 'A' game, but she does have work to do to turn around form with Nezwaah, and a tougher challenger may emerge from Quidura. Graham Motion's filly has course winning form, albeit over a slightly shorter trip, but the extra furlong should be no issue for this daughter of Dubawi, who has knocked heads with some of the best North American performers of her sex this year. Andrew Balding's Blond Me should also go well, and is best forgiven her last effort when squeezed for room and allowed to come home in her own time.
Selection: Win back Nezwaah
A fascinating clash between last year's winner and fifth-place finisher, Erupt and Idaho, who should be much more closely matched this time around. While Erupt proved very much suited to the slow pace and sprint finish of the 2016 renewal, Idaho's tardy start and subsequent poor position cost him dear in a race that just wasn't run to suit. A peak-form Idaho sets a decent standard for this filed to aim at, but he does come with risks attached, having run poorly when last shipped to North America in the summer.
Erupt is another who needs to bounce back having posted a couple of below-par efforts this year, though a switch to the excellent Graham Motion stable could well see him stage a revival. With doubts over both the front pair in the market, a chance is taken on Ralph Beckett's Chemical Charge, who gets to race with the aid of Lasix on his first North American venture. That may be enough to see him bridge a slight form gap between himself and the principals, and it's worth remembering he doesn't have a great deal to find with Idaho on their Royal Ascot running in June.
Selection: Win back Chemical Charge