Sky Bet Lowther Stakes | 6f | 2yo fillies | Group 2 | ITV/RTV
The evidence of the eye and the form book both suggest most strongly that Liberty Beach will thrive over six furlongs but the proof of the pudding is in the racing – and trainer John Quinn wants to see her race at York before answering the stamina question with any confidence.
Quinn, by nature, is not a man to make bullish statements but plenty of punters will approach the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes adamant that last month's impressive Molecomb Stakes winner is the one to beat.
That Goodwood victory came over five furlongs but Philip Wilkins' filly powered home in the style of a sprinter who would not be bothered by a greater stamina test. Anyone who saw her gobble up the Sandown and Beverley hills on the way to previous wins would have been left thinking the same.
"We feel she will get six furlongs but you never know until the horse runs over the trip," said Quinn. "She is a fairly relaxed filly and she has been seeing out her races well but this is the acid test.
"We could have come here or gone for the Morny but trying six furlongs for the first time I preferred to run her against her own sex. That was the thinking, plus the fact the Lowther is held just down the road, not 400 miles away.
"I'm never one to be confident before a race but I'm very happy with the filly and she is in a good place."
Under The Stars out to show Ascot win was no fluke
Under The Stars may have been a 25-1 shot when claiming the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot but there was nothing in her effort under P J McDonald that hinted a fluke success had been landed. This is her chance to prove that.
Living In The Past and Good Vibes, the Ascot third and fifth, renew rivalry but the form of the Group 3 contest has already been tested, with half-length runner-up Aroha going on to finish sixth in last Sunday's Prix Morny.
The Saeed Manana-owned Under The Stars has been supplemented, taking the Lowther prize fund up to £237,750 – huge for a Group 2.
Her trainer James Tate, said: "I don't know if we've been noticing her more at home since Ascot but she has certainly been pleasing us, although she has always been the type to do no more than asked.
"The Lowther closed the day before she won a little auction race first time out, so we've had to supplement her, but this is the obvious race for fillies like her unless you're sure they want a step up to seven furlongs, which we aren't.
"We thought she would run well at Ascot, but I suppose I was a little surprised how well she won, and she was hardly blowing after the race. We've been very happy with her since."
Tate also saddles Nasaiym under Oisin Murphy.
"Nasaiym is a filly we've always liked," said Tate. "We bought her privately after was unsold at the breeze-ups and she won nicely at Newbury on ground I felt she hated."
What they say
Ken Condon, trainer of Celtic Beauty
I'm hoping the level, fast track at York will play to her strengths. She was very good at Naas and has seemed very well since.
David Evans, trainer of Good Vibes
I don't think she has had a chance to run up to her best the last twice. At Newbury she got stuck behind a wall of horses and then couldn't pick up in the ground. At Ascot the time before she made the running but was still only beaten three and a half lengths by Under The Stars. She is now going back on decent ground at York and with the same jockey who won on her there. I think she has a great chance.
Karl Burke, trainer of Living In The Past
She's in good order and will encounter better ground than she had to deal with at Ascot last time, which should be a real help.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Precious Moments
She has been running very well without being able to get her head in front. We tried her over seven at Leopardstown but think switching back to six will suit here.