Mark Milligan previews the best of the weekend's action and puts forward two bets...
With little to choose between Deceptive Vision and Overheard, the bet in this race looks to be the Christophe Clement-trained Stellar Path...
A relatively low-key weekend in North America with the best of the action coming from Woodbine on Saturday which stages the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes (21:45 BST), a one-mile turf contest for fillies and mares. Deserved Morning Line favourite Deceptive Vision comes here off the back of a comeback win on dirt in the G3 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland last month, and very much sets the standard based on her win in the 9f G2 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine last September, as well as her good third behind Just the Judge in the E.P. Taylor Stakes the following month.
However, the keen-going Deceptive Vision isn't drawn ideally in this contest (stall 9) and there is also the possibility that she may be too close to a fast pace with several front-running types in opposition. With that in mind, it may pay to look elsewhere, and although this twelve-runner contest looks particularly competitive at first glance, there are plenty who can be comfortably ruled out. One who deserves plenty of respect, though, is Overheard, who already has a win to her name over Deceptive Vision, that coming in the G2 Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine in July. The consistent Overheard hasn't won in three starts since then but rarely fails to run her race and is almost certain to be in the mix once more.
With little to choose between Deceptive Vision and Overheard, the bet in this race looks to be the Christophe Clement-trained Stellar Path. A French import, Stellar Path made her debut for Clement in a weak four-runner stakes race at Aqueduct last month, running out a half-length winner from Cushion. While the bare form of that contest gives her a bit to find with the principals here, there is no doubt that she is still open to plenty of improvement, and Clement is a past master at coaxing the best out of ex-European runners. The fact that Luis Saez sees fit to follow the filly from New York to Canada for the ride suggests that plenty is expected of her, and with Clement not one to tilt at windmills, it is probably fair to assume this four-year-old filly will step up considerably on the form of her US debut.
The action on Sunday also centres on Woodbine, where the Grade 3 Selene Stakes (21:45 BST) for three-year-old fillies on Polytrack, is the highlight of the card. Don't Leave Me boasts the best form courtesy of her win in the G3 Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway Park in March, but she is likely to be priced accordingly. Using the TimeformUS unique pedigree ratings, the one that catches the eye is the Mark Casse-trained Ol'Fashion Gal. Yet to race on Polytrack, but with fairly useful form on turf, the pedigree ratings suggest that Ol'Fashion Gal could well improve for this switch to a synthetic surface. Ol' Fashion Gal's workouts on the track have also been encouraging and it would be no surprise whatsoever if she proves to be a much better filly on this surface than on turf. If that does prove to be the case, Ol' Fashion Gal will be a very tough nut to crack.
Back Stellar Path in the Nassau Stakes on Saturday
Back Ol' Fashion Gal in the Selene Stakes on Sunday