Music can score for Channon
A concerted bid by four English-based runners to emulate the success of Mark Johnston's Attraction in 2004 will put the home defence on their guard ahead of tomorrow's Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas.
In the lead-up to this latest high-profile sponsorship by Abu Dhabi interests, Arab-owned pair Music Show and the supplemented Anna Salai have been vying for favouritism with the main firms.
While the Mick Channon-trained Music Show's form is an open book at this stage, it is the undoubted potential of Godolphin's French import Anna Salai that seems to have captured the imagination of punters.
The Maktoum family's Godolphin operation have turned to their latest new trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni to make the fillies' mile Classic breakthrough with the daughter of their prized stallion, Dubawi.
An impressive surge to victory four weeks ago in Group Three company at Longchamp prompted Godolphin's swoop on Andre Fabre's yard that also included the unbeaten Cutlass Bay, which contests the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
The Maktoums forked out €32,500 and €25,000 respectively to add Al Zarooni's charge and Cutlass Bay, from Saeed Bin Suroor's stable, to the twin Group One highlights on a splendidly varied card.
Dubai native Andrea Ajtebi, who prospered along with Al Zarooni during the spring carnival there, takes the mount on each of these runners, which come up against formidable opposition in turn.
In addition to Music Show, which had to settle for sixth place despite leading home the far-side group at Newmarket on good-to-soft going three weeks ago, Ajtebi's mount squares up to English Guineas third Gile Na Greine, seasonal debutante Lillie Langtry and unbeaten pair Lolly For Dolly and Termagant.
As yet unproven on fast ground, American-bred Anna Salai is drawn high along with fellow supplementary entry Lolly For Dolly, Gile Na Greine and Famous, which seems next best to Lillie Langtry of the Ballydoyle quintet.
Towards the opposite side of the 19-runner cavalry charge are Music Show, winner of the Nell Gwyn Stakes prior to the English Guineas, and Termagant, which has not raced since beating Famous and Lillie Langtry for the Moyglare Stud Stakes over seven furlongs in the soft here last September.
It appears an intriguing, if somewhat baffling, puzzle to solve. Luck in running on rapidly drying going will be a bonus and perhaps Music Show can defy her drift in the market with Ryan Moore's assistance.
The preceding Tattersalls Gold Cup looks a more straightforward assignment with Fame And Glory taken to end the winning sequences that Cutlass Bay and Chinese White have built up in France and here.
Presumably aided once more by pacemaker Dixie Music, Fame And Glory should have the finishing kick to emulate former stablemate Duke Of Marmalade as the odds-on 2008 victor in this extended mile-and-a-quarter race.
The Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes may devolve into a match between the penalised Jan Vermeer and Icon Dream, which drops back in trip after being reeled in close home by Ted Spread for the Chester Vase prize.