Ribblesdale Stakes sets a Real Puzzle to Solve

Leading trainer Aidan O’Brien still had nine talented fillies engaged in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes approaching the five-day declaration stage, a clear indication of his intention to land the mile-and-a-half  prize that has surprisingly come his way only once, when Bracelet landed the 2014 renewal.

Even Song (5/1), Ante-Post Favorite from Aidan O’Brien

Even Song Horse O’Brien’s Even Song is currently 5/1 ante-post favourite in what looks a wide-open renewal, stable companion Somehow is 7/1, and Pretty Perfect (12/1) are the leading Ballydoyle representatives in the market.

But on the bare form it’s hard to understand why Even Song has been installed favourite on the back of a Leopardstown maiden success last term and a distant third place in listed company on her seasonal reappearance in Newmarket’s Pretty Polly Stakes.

Her pedigree – she’s a half-sister to last season’s St Leger winner Simple Verse – suggests the three-year-old will improve for the step up in trip, but she has it to do on form to justify her market position.

Somehow, winner of the listed Cheshire Oaks but beaten 24 lengths in the Oaks at Epsom recently, makes little appeal, so Pretty Perfect, who got stuck in the mud in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh but had previously run well when second in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas, might be the more progressive of the trio, especially as decent ground threatens to bring out the best in her.

Architecture (7/1), Trainer Hugo Palmer

If Hugo Palmer’s Architecture (7/1) is allowed to take her chance so soon after running a great race when second to Minding in The Oaks at Epsom, she would have to be made favourite. There would be a big question mark though over whether this very progressive filly will have had enough to time to recover from her exertions at Epsom?

The Black Princess (16/1), Trainer John Gosden

John Gosden’s The Black Princess (16/1), is another potential starter in this race and ran well at Goodwood in May to chase home the decent Skiffle but does need to improve on the bare evidence of that piece of form.

Other Contenders

Ribblesdale Stakes

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained pair of Queen’s Trust and Shall We are both interesting. Queen’s Trust (14/1) was coming with a promising run in a listed event at Newbury last month when she was badly hampered and eventually had to settle for fifth. She might have gone close with a clear run so is far better than her bare form figures suggest.

Shall We (20/1) caught the eye when making every yard of the running to score in a 10-furlong maiden at Salisbury last time out/ the daughter of Dansili is related to a number of fair performers so it is not unreasonable to assume there could be plenty more improvement still to come.

Mick Channon’s fillies have been in tremendous form in the last fortnight – he had three pattern race winners in three different countries on Derby Day – and his Harlequeen (20/1), an excellent third in The Oaks, is another potential threat if, like second-placed Architecture, she has recovered from a tough race at Epsom on June 3.

In the News

[1] skysports.com, Oaks runner-up Architecture in the mix for Ribblesdale Stakes, 2016