Lucida can set raiders' record straight
Lucida could claim a slice of history at Newmarket today if she can build on the promise of her first two outings this term when she tackles her elders in the Falmouth Stakes.
Up until recently, the £200,000 mile Group One was the only top-level British Flat race that hadn't been won by an Irish-based horse since being elevated to elite status. With the introduction of Royal Ascot's Commonwealth Cup, that grouping now numbers two.
Jim Bolger's 1,000 Guineas runner-up is the only one that can reduce the deficit this afternoon. Arabian Queen also represents the Classic generation in the fillies and mares' contest, but Lucida holds her on the basis of their Coronation Stakes performances.
On that occasion, Lucida was dropped out by Kevin Manning, surging home late to very nearly thwart Ervedya and Found, with Arabian Queen also running admirably in fifth.
Having been beaten by Legatissimo in contrasting style but in similarly frustrating circumstances at Newmarket, there is no doubt that Lucida is capable of winning at this level. She impressed in a Group Two on the Rowley Mile in September, and the suspicion is that less deliberate tactics will yield a breakthrough success in the highest echelon on the July course.
Bolger's horses have been in great form, and there is no more qualified trainer to finally slay the ghost of the Falmouth, which was won by Michael Cunningham's Rose Above in 1979, prior to its final promotion 11 years ago.
This is another cracking edition of the Group One, with French raiders Fintry, Avenir Certain and Bawina respected, likewise last year's Michael Stoute-trained winner Integral, should the prevailing fast ground be deemed sufficiently safe for her to participate.
David O'Meara's Royal Ascot heroine Amazing Maria is one that is sure to relish the conditions, but Lucida is fancied to collect for Manning.
Tomorrow, Eddie Lynam will saddle his two ace speedsters Sole Power and Anthem Alexander in the Darley July Cup, with Ryan Moore set to partner Due Diligence for Aidan O'Brien. Richard Hughes will ride Sole Power and Pat Smullen is booked for Anthem Alexander, with Godolphin's Australian acquisition Brazen Beau the market leader at 9/4 to go one better than when second in the Diamond Jubilee.
Also among the final 15 declarations for what has the makings of a thrilling spectacle is Charlie Hills' Commonwealth Cup victor, Muhaarar.
Elsewhere today, Ken Condon sends Newsletter to York for a six-furlong Group Three. Tony Hamilton rides the Nottingham Listed winner that was second to Ainippe at the Curragh.