This is a basket case of a race!
28 three-year-olds, tightly-wound sprinters at that, will be fussing and fighting going in the stalls and many will give their jockeys a tough time on the way back too.
We could never say this is a race to bet confidently on, however there is a value angle here by using a filly with, rather unusually, plenty of miles on the clock.
We’re well used to seeing quality fillies trained by William Haggas and bred by Chevely Park, what we’re less used to is seeing one who runs no fewer than 12 times as a juvenile.
It was a busy old campaign for Canonized last year but she acquitted herself well. Largely consistent, the speedy Acclamation filly won four times, raced twice in two days at Ayr including when second in a Group 3 and reached a mark of 100.
Her busy profile means its easy to miss the fact that she actually is progressive overall. These horses improve for age more than racing, so despite not always taking giant strides forward in between races we’re confident she can still better that 100 rating and yet she’s now in here off 98.
The hustle and bustle, the fast ground and the stiff five furlongs are all in her favour.
Johnny Murtagh has proven himself more than capable in these big handicaps and he saddles Ladies Church in this.
The Churchill filly was a Listed winner last year and was second to Sacred Bridge last time out, though at a glance she too is not improving hugely so will need to take a sudden step forward which of course is possible.
Latin Lover is another who’s been kept busy in his short career, though he has been placed 5 times in ten races so far and is reliable.
He comes into this on the back of a six furlong win at Kempton on the all-weather, but won over a fast five furlongs at Beverley last season as a juvenile.
Loves Me Likearock
Well drawn for a trainer in Charlie Hills who knows a good sprinter when he sees one is Loves Me Likearock.
He’s been in the first 2 four times out of six, the only times he hasn’t achieved that being in a Listed race in 2021 and in a hot handicap behind Ingra Tor at Newmarket last time out.
That was over six furlongs and it may be that a stiff five is his game, though he may need some luck as his better performances have come when he has been ridden in midfield early.
The fillies are showing up well in this race, another one being Nymphadora who is a daughter of No Nay Never which is a tick in the positive column at Ascot.
After beating Canonized in a Listed race last season, it was thought Andrew Balding’s horse was heading to the top.
That didn’t quite happen and she hasn’t won since, but 44 days ago she got right back to her best with a second at Chester and could be improving now.
Another sprint, another American contender.
We do note that as of Thursday, Ruthin is a heavy drifter having headed the market initially but after a good performance at Keeneland last time she had to be shortlisted.
Her latest win was in a Listed contest and she just got there at the line, meaning her rating of 105 may be just a tad high.
There is also the spectre of her having been sent off 3/1 favourite for the Windsor Castle Stakes here last year, though she was well below her best in seventh place that time.
If Nymphadora can take a step forward from her Chester run then she’d have a fine each-way chance and we reckon that’s going to be the case.
Arguably more solid is Loves Me Likearock who should show up well, but at the prices there is potential with CANONIZED as long as you don’t blow your budget on the win market.
At prices ranging from 16/1 to 25/1, we can afford to play in either the place market or the each-way market.
There are four places up for grabs, more if you shop around, and it may be that Canonized’s ability and experience can help her to grab one of them which means there is some betting value in her to run a big race in favoured conditions.