4.55 Coolmore America “Justify” Matron Stakes (Group 1) 1m
Lights On: Highly progressive filly last year and looked on track for a big season when accounting for Mutasaabeq and Alcohol Free in the Bet365 Mile at Sandown in April. Has only run once since, when not disgraced sixth to Baaeed in Queen Anne. Back against her own sex now but it’s hard to see her deeply involved.
Pearls Galore: Only a neck away from winning this last season and looks at least as good this term, winning her first two starts before finding Order Of Australia too hot in the Minstrel and then fading into fifth behind Saffron Beach in the Prix Rothschild. On the evidence of the latter, she has plenty to do facing that filly again, but racing around a bend again should place more emphasis on her speed. Versatile ground-wise.
Saffron Beach: Fourth in the Dubai Turf in March boded well for a big season and she has delivered, emphatically taking the Duke of Cambridge and then probably outstaying her rivals to claim a second Group 1 win in the Prix Rothschild. The most obvious one to put it up to the favourite, but it’s a slight worry that all of her best performances have come over a straight mile.
Affogato: Won her first two starts this season but then struggled when taking on the Group 3 Brownstown at Fairyhouse (six-length sixth to Marbling), and this is much tougher.
Agartha: Gained deserved first win of the season with a tough front-running performance in the Group 3 Fairy Bridge latest, having returned from short stint in America. Earlier, she was six lengths away from Homeless Songs in the Irish 1000 Guineas, so she has plenty to find, but if she is to find it, Leopardstown is a big help as she has never been out of the top two in four runs.
Concert Hall: Since holding off subsequent Irish Oaks winner Magical Lagoon at Navan, she has run well without really threatening to win at Group/Grade 1 level, but now has to put a very poor Nassau Stakes effort (last of eight) behind her.
Homeless Songs: Only fifth in Moyglare Stud Stakes on this weekend last season but that was just her second start and she was able to show what she is really made of earlier this season, winning Guineas Trial at Leopardstown before an emphatic five-length win in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.
The 111-day lay-off is a concern, but connections had always planned to give her a break and she has more or less been trained for this race since. If she is at her best, or close to it, she should win.
Honey Girl: Still a maiden but has had a good season, attaining Group 3 blacktype when third to History in the Group 3 Cornelscourt Stakes, followed by respectable sixth in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot. Her latest two runs haven’t been at that level, so she’s hard to fancy now.
Panama Red: Surprise winner of the Ingabelle on this card last year, staying on strongly in that seven-furlong contest. Yet to win this year however and needs a significant step up on two recent seconds in listed contests at Killarney.
Star Girls Aalmal: Fourth in the Irish 1000 Guineas was a fine effort considering she had just won her maiden the run before, and she filled the same position when beaten by just two lengths in the Jersey at Royal Ascot. However, she disappointed when a short-priced favourite for the Brownstown so needs to come back from that.
Tenebrism: Showed amazing tenacity to win the Cheveley Park Stakes on just her second career start and off a 181-day break last September. With that in mind, you could say she hasn’t lived up to her potential this season - eighth in 1000 Guineas and well held by Inspiral in Coronation Stakes. However, she moved back to seven furlongs to win Group 1 Prix Jean Prat and found only Saffron Beach too good in the Rothschild. She looked to have that rival under pressure there, but probably got outstayed, so the bend might just help her today.
Homeless Songs should win here if she is at her best but I’d much rather take another chance on the talented Tenebrism at a bigger price. She has to confirm form with Saffron Beach, but racing around a bend today could help her, and in any case, she has more scope to improve on just her seventh career start. She appeals as an each-way or ‘without the favouite’ option.