Timeform preview the Group action at the Curragh on Saturday, which includes the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes...
"Considering his eye-catching entries this year, it will be a big surprise if he doesn’t use this as a stepping stone to bigger and better things."
Timeform on Ten Sovereigns
There are three Group 3s at the Curragh on Saturday, beginning with the Flame of Tara Stakes (13:40), a contest for two-year-old fillies over a mile that hasn't really been dominated by any one stable in recent years.
Somewhat unusually, the one who sets the standard on Timeform ratings is Bandiuc Ellie, who remains a maiden after three starts. She has improved with each of her three outings, though, and belied her 50/1 odds when finishing an excellent second to Skitter Scatter in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes here last Sunday. It's interesting that she is turned out so quickly for this, and whilst a banker for a maiden, she is likely to make a bold bid in this company, too.
Aidan O'Brien is responsible for three of the nine-runner field, in the form of Just Wonderful, Peach Tree and Fleeting. Whilst all three are nice prospects on paper, the latter two disappointed on their most recent starts when upped in grade, and, as such, narrow preference of the trio is for Just Wonderful. She has had two tries at this level already, having little go right for her when a well-backed favourite in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, before hitting the frame in the Anglesey Stakes at this course a month later. She still showed signs of greenness on that most recent run, but she's clearly well thought of (sent off a 2/1 favourite at Ascot) and it would be no surprise should things slowly start to click into place as she steps up in trip here (dam a sister to smart winner up to 1½m Bracelet).
Like Bandiuc Ellie, Chynna outran her 50/1 odds when third to Antonia de Vega in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood last time and is worthy of consideration, as is Lightning Amber, who found some improvement when upped to a mile at Galway last time and could yet find more despite this better company.
The nine furlong Snow Fairy Fillies' Stakes (14:50) looks a strong race for the grade, with 11 runners due to head to post. In terms of Timeform ratings, the three to concentrate on look to be Mary Tudor, Desert Diamond and I'm So Fancy, who are a considerable way clear of the rest.
Mary Tudor brings Group 1 form to the table courtesy of a much improved effort when one and three quarter lengths third to subsequent Yorkshire Oaks winner Sea of Class in the Irish Oaks last time. Mary Tudor received a more patient ride that day, meeting some trouble early in the straight before keeping on well - tactics which could well be utilised again considering the very strong pace forecast by the Timeform Early Position Map.
The year older I'm So Fancy has progressed well this season, completing a listed double here in June, before running well when upped in grade in each of her next two starts, including when fifth in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville last time (had the run of the race). Dropped back into Group 3 company, she is likely to receive an attacking ride from Colm O'Donoghue.
However, ready preference is for the British raider Desert Diamond, who has done nothing but progress for the Sir Michael Stoute team this year. She built on her second in a listed race at Sandown in July to go one better in the same company at York three weeks later, forging clear late on. She looks open to more improvement yet and is fancied to take the step up to this level in her stride.
Saturday's Group action is brought to a close by the Round Tower Stakes at 15:25, a six furlong race for two-year-olds. Unlike the other pattern races on the card, Aidan O'Brien has dominated this contest in recent years, winning three of the last five renewals - including with U S Navy Flag 12 months ago - and he has the horse to beat this year: Ten Sovereigns.
Ten Sovereigns looked something out of the ordinary when bolting up on debut over C&D last Sunday, blitzing the opposition just for hand riding and recording a very strong debut timefigure of 103. He's quickly stepped up in class, but is open to significant improvement (4 lb clear on weight-adjusted ratings with a large P). Considering his eye-catching entries this year, it will be a big surprise if he doesn't use this as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
The biggest threat could well come from the unexposed filly Servalan, who was sixth in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot last time, finishing second of those who raced on the far rail. It's interesting that the maiden Could Be King was pitched into a Group 2 here on just his second start last week and it would be no surprise should be find more improvement here.
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