Lady Aurelia (3) is a short-priced favourite for this event. She won her first two starts of the year including The Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes ridden with a little restraint. The three-length victory at Royal Ascot was a brilliant performance. She reverted to frontrunning tactics in The Group 1 Nunthorpe at York. She may have held off Marsha (6) but for edging left. If ridden as last time, she may be vulnerable late on. If John Velazquez tries to sit behind the other speeds, he may risk a getting block when trying to move up.
Marsha (6) and Disco Partner (1) are very capable of winning this but are going to need some luck in running. The admirable Marsha can be ridden more forwardly than last time out at Chantilly. She has a bunch of quick rivals to pass whilst running around a sharp bend for the first time in her career. It is nothing new to the much-improved Disco Partner. His only loss this year came over a mile on rain-softened ground. He has a fine late kick. The cut back to five furlongs is less of a problem than finding a way past the vast majority of this field in the latter stages. In fact, only Washington DC (5) may be behind him early on. He’s struggled in the best company over five furlongs this year. Cotai Glory (8) finished well ahead of him when third to Marsha and Lady Aurelia. He’s on a long, losing run but his tactical speed could see him go well at a price here.
Pure Sensation (12) is running in this race for the third straight time. This shorter distance suits him as least as well as when third over six and a half furlongs in 2016. He beat 2015 winner Mongolian Saturday (12) in a Grade 3 at Parx in September. Although he has tactical speed, his outside post looks a tricky one. Holding Gold (2) ran below form when behind Pure Sensation at Parx. He ran super in defeat prior to that in a Grade 3 won by Disco Partner (1) and a very swift stake at Saratoga.
If this was a solo time trial, the 1-2-3 would be Lady Aurelia, Marsha and Disco Partner probably in that order. It’s not and at least two of them will need luck in running. STORMY LIBERAL (4) is not as talented but has a squeak at a big price. He’s not raced since fading badly when making a rare appearance outside of California. The five-year-old is multiple stakes winner over six and a half furlongs but has the running style to suggest he’ll cope with this shorter distance.
Selection: STORMY LIBERAL (4)
Exotic Play: (no exotics)