Describing Ralph Beckett’s training operation as ‘small scale’ is grossly unfair. His Andover yard can mix it with the best when given the right ammunition and he certainly wouldn’t have persuaded Moonstone Magic‘s owner, Lady Marchwood, to fork out a fee to supplement her filly in the Qipco 1000 Guineas unless he thought she had a good chance of a return.
Beckett will be praying for the current wet spell to continue into the weekend to give the daughter of Trade Fair every chance of adding to her victory in the Fred Darling at Newbury. She must have give in the ground but is only a best 8/1 with William Hill to keep her unbeaten record intact and there must be a danger that three races in three weeks may be too much for such an inexperienced filly.
Favourite, and deservedly so, is Maybe. Though only one of four Aidan O’Brien entries at the four-day stage, the Galileo filly is clearly the number one hope of the Ballydoyle stable and comes into the season’s first fillies’ classic with an unblemished record. She beat Fire Lily (170/1 on Betfair) and La Collina (a general 16/1) in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in August having earlier finished ahead of Lightening Pearl (a general 20/1) in the Debutante Stakes. Fitness is unlikely to be an issue with the O’Brien filly but this is by far her toughest task to date and Newmarket can sometimes catch out the unwary. She isn’t much value at bodog and sportingbet‘s 13/8 as Discourse (a general 7/1) and Lyric Of Light (9/1 on Betfair) give Godolphin and Mahmood Al Zarooni a strong hand.
Discourse looked as though she’d have no problem with the extra furlong when beating Lily’s Angel (a general 66/1) in the Sweet Solera at Newmarket in August and Lyric Of Light took the Fillies’ Mile over C&D in September, though there isn’t a great deal between her and Diala on the form book. At a general 16/1, it looks obvious that the current value lies with Willie Haggas‘ charge as she progressed from her debut effort behind Lyric Of Light to easily land her maiden at the track in a fast time in October. Diala shouldn’t be twice the odds of her old rival as the step up in distance in the Qipco 1000 Guineas will suit. I’ve also got a huge regard for French raider Mashoora at the general 8/1 as she’s had the perfect preparation, landing a Group 3 at Maisons-Lafitte on her reappearance last month, and Christophe Soumillon‘s mount may emerge as the biggest threat to the home team.