Top 4 rated:
2. Alice Springs
The fillies Classic has the same shape as the colts with Aiden O'Brien's Minding currently heading the market as a strong favourite, and if she has progressed over the winter she will be hard to beat. She beat Nathra easily over course and distance in October and that one has come out and won over course and distance last week.
Alice Springs and Ballydoyle are both trained buy O'Brien (like Minding) but their targets are still not confirmed and they'll avoid each other if possible with Alice Springs likely to go to the Irish Guineas and Ballydoyle either here or wait for the French Guineas, but interestingly there has been strong support for Ballydoyle in the market over the past few days from 10/1 into 5/1.
Lumiere has been well talked up by Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Mark and he states that he fully expects Lumiere to win (oh for the enthusiasm of youth!). Lumiere was undoubtedly impressive last year when beating our selection Illuminate, Besharah and Alice Springs in the Cheveley Park under a very gutsy front running ride from William Buick who must have been confident he was on the best horse in the race, to be honest Illuminate had every chance and looked likely to win at least twice in the final furlong but just failed.
Lumiere has undoubtedly got plenty of speed and if getting a mile as connections are confident she will she could give Minding a lot to do. Watching her races again I think she shapes to be more of a sprinter than a miler despite her breeding giving her a chance to get a mile, and her current price of around 5/1 does not give us much scope for betting purposes.
Illuminate was beaten ½ a length by Lumiere but I think there are a couple of reasons to be hopeful she can turn the form around' firstly she had been on the go for a long time so Lumiere would have been the fresher of the two and secondly she will improve for the extra furlong, she was not disgraced over a mile in the Breeders Cup Fillies Turf. She does need to settle better than she did at Keeneland, as she wasted a lot of energy in the early stages but there is enough stamina from the dams side to see her get a mile well if she does. She was a little on the small side as a 2-y-o and hopefully has grown and strengthened a bit, and the quicker the ground the better for Illuminate as she has shown her best form on good to firm.