Kevin Blake

Alan Dudman's Big Race Verdict: Roll with Lilac to land the Group 1 Falmouth

Paddy Twomey's A Lilac Rolla
A Lilac Rolla finished second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time out

The Group 1 Falmouth Stakes is the highlight on Newmarket's card on Friday, and Alan Dudman brings you the latest Big Race Verdict with a 4/15.00 tip for the contest...

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Four of the seven for Falmouth come from Ireland

Seven have been declared for the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes on Thursday and you cannot knock the quality of the field which includes a trio of three-year-olds and the crucial weight concession. One thing to knock however is the lack of a home challenge - out of the seven, four are trained in Ireland. So where are the UK 1m fillies and mares?

In receipt of the 9lbs here as a three-year-old is a massive advantage, and that age bracket has been successful in five of the last ten editions, and it's probably where we should focus.

The O'Brien clan (minus Aidan) have Porta Fortuna (trained by Donnacha) and Rogue Millennium (trained by Joseph), and the market very much favours the former with Porta Fortuna at 7/52.40 on the Sportsbook.

Her turn of foot is pretty potent, but that has been on quick ground and it was very much on the quick side when winning the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. That form was a repeat near enough of the 1,000 Guineas, although the pace wasn't overly strong and suited something with the quick and instant acceleration that Portuna Fortuna holds.

There's not a lot to crab as one of the leading three-year-old fillies this term other than the price.

Can Lilac uphold the Irish 1,000 Guineas form?

Paddy Twomey continues the exploratory mission in trying the 1m with his star filly A Lilac Rolla, who despite her sharp pedigree (by Harry Angel), seemed to stay the distance well with her second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

That was an excellent effort behind Karl Burke's Fallen Angel, considering the winner had control of the race from the front and appreciated the softer conditions.

A Lilac Rolla was almost 3L behind as the runner-up, but she had Opera Singer a further 2L back in third.

Billy Lee will hopefully be alive to the fact that Newmarket is a track (especially on the July course) where it's hard to make up ground from the rear, and she did race prominently to win on her reappearance at Leopardstown where she landed a Group 3.

With the rain softened ground, there's an argument to say she could be far more suited to potential conditions on Friday rather than Porta Fortuna, but granted, she has to improve.

Lion running for the Gosden axis

Running Lion hoovered up the prize money at Royal Ascot last time with a convincing win in the Group 2 Group Of Cambridge, and she overcame a wide draw with a good ride from Oisin Murphy to win by 2L on quick ground.

Her trainer John Gosden commented afterwards that she had got into a muddle in her two previous races - including an unlucky/poor ride at Epsom previously.

She is the one possible to make the running and will be dangerous if gifted an easy lead, and with her form over 1m - 1m4f, she will stay. But will she be susceptible to a potent turn of foot? If so, I think A Lilac Rolla could have her measure.

Running Lion has form on soft and good to firm, and doesn't appear to be attached for preference to a particular surface.

Varian has a big priced outsider

Roger Varian won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket with a big priced outsider, and his 16/117.00 shot here is Jabaara.

It's quite a bold move from Varian in terms of the "trip dice", as I can't have her as a strong stayer over 1m in a well-run race, especially against Running Lion.

She has won Listed races in the north and Scotland, and while rated 105, she needs to improve markedly on what we've seen and Porta Fortuna absolutely thrashed her in the Albany last year.

Sirona is the same price at 16/117.00 for David Menuisier, and she ran against the males in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt at Haydock last time over 7f.

She's tough, but will find it even tougher to concede weight against higher rated and improving fillies, plus she was beaten three times in handicaps off marks in the 90s last term - and that wouldn't be anywhere near good enough to win this. But fair play, at least Menuisier is having a go.

How will it play out with tactics?

I would be staggered if Oisin Murphy doesn't try to make the running with a confirmed stayer in Running Lion and with a small field, his draw in five on the mare won't be too much of a problem.

Porta Fortuna and A Lilac Rolla should both sit handy, while last year's Duke Of Cambridge winner Rogue Millennium was a hold-up filly when trained by Tom Clover, but has been ridden more prominently in her two races this year for Joseph O'Brien.

It's a shame we don't have eight runners, or god forbid more, as she could have been interesting each-way as she found the ground too quick at Ascot last time.

I am hoping A Lilac Rolla will have the best turn of foot here, and with her proving herself over 1m last time at the Curragh, I still see her as an improving filly.

Now read more tips for Friday at Newmarket

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