It looks very much as though there may be a French-trained winner of the Group 1 Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday if last month’s impressive Royal Ascot winner Usherette performs to anything close to the same level.
Usherette (4/5), Favorite to Win at Falmouth Stakes
Bookmakers are taking no chances in this high-class mile contest restricted to fillies and mares only, making the Andre Fabre-trained star a best priced 4/5 favourite at the time of writing, and offering 7/1 and bigger for the remaining 11 contenders left in the contest at the five-day declaration stage ahead of day two of the Newmarket July Festival.
It’s hard to find any real weaknesses in the profile of Usherette, a winner of six of her seven career starts who was particularly impressive last time out in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at the royal meeting where she ran on powerfully under Mickael Barzalona to beat former South American champion Furia Cruzada (runner-up in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday), by a comfortable two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Fabre’s four-year-old daughter of Shamardal had previously beaten last season’s Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes heroine Arabian Queen on the Rowley Mile course at Newmarket in the spring in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes, and with underfoot conditions likely to remain on the soft side of good she looks to hold all the aces. Should the ground unexpectedly dry out that would be the only unknown factor for Usherette who thus far has raced only on good or easier ground.
Nemoralia (7/1), Top Contender
Many punters however will look to find one to beat an odds-on chance and there are a number of likely each-way alternatives to the favourite. Jeremy Noseda’s Nemoralia (7/1) has already shown she can hold her own in Group 1 company and ran a fine race at Ascot recently when finding only French star Qemah too good for her in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
That excellent effort followed a very impressive six length success in listed company at York on her seasonal return in May, which itself came after a six-month break in the wake of her great run in the United States where she was beaten just a length into third by Catch a Glimpse in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Keeneland last October. There is no doubt Nemoralia is class act, and if there are any flaws in the favourite she could very well be the one to expose them.
Euro Charline (12/1), Marco Botti’s Mare
Marco Botti’s Euro Charline is an admirable mare. A bargain basement buy, she won the 2014 Grade 1 Beverley D Stakes at Arlington in Chicago and has been a regular at the highest level of competition around the world over the last three seasons. She has been runner-up on all three starts so far in 2016, including twice at Meydan in Dubai where on the latter occasion she ran a tremendous race to chase home Real Steel in the hugely valuable Group 1 Dubai Turf.
The five-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie again ran a cracker when runner-up to the high quality Belardo in the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May and looks overpriced for each-way punters at prices up to 12/1.
Aidan ‘Brian has Never Won the Falmouth
It will come as a big surprise to many that legendary trainer Aidan O’Brien has never won the Falmouth Stakes, and he may have to wait a while longer unless his one of his two possible runner – Ballydoyle (10/1) or Alice Springs (10/1) – produce an improved effort to land the spoils. Both are talented fillies, Ballydoyle having chased home Minding in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May before running well in the French Oaks last month, while Alice Springs was a very respectable third behind Qemah at Royal Ascot last time out having occupied the same position in the Qipco 1000 Guineas the previous month. They do need to improve a few pounds though to get the better of Usherette.
Last year’s winner Amazing Maria (12/1) cannot be totally ruled out of calculations this time around but hasn’t been in the same kind of form so far this campaign so needs to step up on recent efforts.