The one who very much sets the standard in this year's renewal is the Michael Bell-trained Pretty Pollyanna, who arrives as the only filly with a Group 1 success already under her belt, having won the Prix Morny at Deauville (Signora Cabello second, Comedy eighth) last month.
She's proven herself to be the best juvenile filly around this season, winning on debut at Yarmouth in May, before finding the Albany Stakes too stiff of a task when fifth on just her second start. Pretty Pollyanna took her form to another level, however, when taking apart the field in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket in July on her next start (by seven lengths from Angel's Hideaway). She was pushed a lot closer on her first try at the top level in the Prix Morny on her most recent start last month, though she found plenty to assert in the closing stages and, clear on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings, she should continue to take all of the beating.
Behind Pretty Pollyanna at Deauville was Signora Cabello, one of the most prolific runners in the field with four career wins already to her name. She has made great strides since her debut at Beverley in April, winning Group 2 contests at both Ascot and Maisons-Laffitte during the summer. Whilst her winning run was brought to an end in the Prix Morny last time, that was her best effort yet, finishing clear of the remainder, and she looks the main danger to Pretty Pollyanna once more.
Aidan O'Brien has won the last two renewals of this race, and he has left five in at the five-day stage, namely Just Wonderful, So Perfect, Fairyland, Gossamer Wings and Coral Beach.
In terms of Timeform ratings, Just Wonderful has achieved the most, belatedly building on her impressive debut when winning the Group 3 Flame of Tara Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month. However, she was well below form in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes returned to the course two weeks later. So Perfect was an excellent second up against the boys in the Phoenix Stakes when last seen and is open to progress back against her own sex, whilst Gossamer Wings and Coral Beach would need more on the form they have shown so far.
Fairyland is an interesting contender and is perhaps O'Brien's best chance, having won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York last month (The Mackem Bullet second, Angel's Hideaway ninth). She boasts some strong form, her defeat of stablemates Van Beethoven and Land Force, both subsequent Group 2 winners, at listed level at the Curragh in May reading particularly well now, and she should continue to give a good account on her first try at the top level.
Servalan is due to represent the Jessica Harrington team, and was steadily progressive in her first three starts, before running poorly in the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh last time. However, she was possibly amiss (reportedly blowing hard post race) and is best excused that run, though she would still need a career best to feature here.
Perhaps the most interesting of the Irish contingent, however, is Lady Kaya. She has shaped well in her four starts to date, not looking the finished article when fourth behind Skitter Scatter in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at the Curragh two starts ago, before only just being collared by the same rival in the final furlong in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes last time. The way she travelled through the race that day suggested that a success at this level is no forlorn hope, and she is worth another try at six furlongs - which she gets here. She needs to find 12 lb with Pretty Pollyanna on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings, but she remains open to improvement, and is well worth her place at this field.
The Mark Johnston yard has produced several smart two-year-olds so far in 2018, including Main Edition, who has won four of her six starts to date, including in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket last month. She did too much too soon when a below-form fifth in the Moyglare last time, but this track may suit her prominent run style better, and she can't be ignored. Another with multiple wins under her belt is the Karl Burke-trained Comedy, who has won three of her five starts so far. She had her winning run ended when well held in the Prix Morny last time, but she had excuses that day, racing up unfavoured stand rail, and is the type to fare much better here.
Two runners have been supplemented for the race at a cost of £20,000, in the shape of Queen of Bermuda and The Mackem Bullet. The former arrives here in tremendous form, producing a career-best effort to win the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes at Ayr last weekend, a performance that suggested that she is capable of running to an even higher level, and she's respected provided that this run doesn't come too quick. The Mackem Bullet almost pulled off a 25/1 upset in last month's Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York, edging ahead in the final furlong before getting collared on the line. Whilst she's a likeable filly, she needs to pull out more to justify her connections' outlay in supplementing her for this.
However, it is difficult to look beyond Pretty Pollyanna, who already has Group 1 form in the book having won the Prix Morny at Deauville last month. She looks the best filly of her generation that we've seen so far, and is expected to confirm the form with Signora Cabello, who can hit the frame once again. Lady Kaya is perhaps the most interesting of the entries from Ireland, though Fairyland is another to note.