Strong early pace key to Lantern

A strong early pace is seen as a key factor if Sky Lantern is to get the best chance to shine when she tackles 10 furlongs for the first time in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (3.15pm) at Goodwood.

Strong early pace key to Lantern

Having already proved herself as the leading three-year-old filly over a mile with 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes wins, Sky Lantern tries to make the transition to middle distances on the Sussex Downs.

She arrives on the back of a controversial and narrow defeat at the hands of Elusive Kate in the Falmouth Stakes, and assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr believes a sound gallop through the initial exchanges will be crucial from her draw in stall 13 of 15.

“She’s in really good form. She’s trying a mile and a quarter for the first time and is drawn on the outside, we’ll probably tuck her in a little bit and hope they go quick enough,” he said.

“She’s a very, very good filly and we just hope she gets a mile and a quarter, if she does we’re in big business.

“It won’t be easy to get round them but hopefully they’ll go quick enough so they don’t end up in a heap two furlongs out.

“Hughesie (Richard Hughes) thinks she’ll stay the trip standing on her ear and let’s hope they go a good gallop. There are lots of runners, which is a worry, and it’s a tough race, but she’s a good filly.

“The plan originally wasn’t to run here, but she came out of Newmarket so well we thought we’d try.”

Irish interest is centred around Aidan O’Brien’s duo of Just Pretending and Magical Dream.

O’Brien told At The Races: “The faster the ground, the better it would suit her (Just Pretending).

“We think the drop back in trip will suit her and she’s in good form.

“It (a hood) seems to have really transformed her.”

Of Magical Dream, the trainer said: “We always thought a mile and a quarter was her trip.”

Owners Qatar Racing have just one contender in Just The Judge after their second string, Secret Gesture, was rerouted to Sunday’s German Oaks in Dusseldorf.

Despite Secret Gesture’s defection, the Charlie Hills-trained Just The Judge remains far from certain to take her chance, with connections keen to see some rain ahead of her first run over a mile and a quarter.

Qatar racing manager David Redvers said: “She is by Lawman and most of his progeny have a preference for softer ground.

“She has had three runs this season, all in Group 1 company and on fast ground, and we don’t want to trash her.

“At the same time, we are keen to run her on Saturday as there aren’t many other suitable opportunities for her at Group 1 level coming up.

“We’ll make a decision as late as possible. We’d like to see a shower or two. If there is any jar in the ground then she won’t run.”

The Irish 1000 Guineas heroine finished behind the re-opposing Sky Lantern in the Guineas at Newmarket and in the Coronation Stakes, but Redvers is keen to have another crack at the Richard Hannon filly over this longer trip.

He said: “Jamie (Spencer, jockey) has been begging us to run her over further since the first time he sat on her and looking at her as a physical specimen, and looking at her pedigree, I’d be pretty confident she’ll stay a mile and a quarter.

“While we have huge respect for Sky Lantern, there is certainly no fear about taking her on again, especially over this distance.”

Michael Stoute’s Integral takes a significant step up in class following an impressive success at Listed level at Sandown.

Chris Richardson, managing director for owners Cheveley Park Stud, said: “There aren’t too many other options so we thought we might definitely learn something about her by running her at Goodwood.

“We are optimistic. I think Ryan (Moore, jockey) has been impressed with her.”

Owner Khalid Abdullah has two representatives in Lady Cecil’s Hot Snap and the John Gosden-trained Winsili.

Hot Snap, not seen since disappointing when favourite for the 1000 Guineas, is, however, not a certain runner.

Her trainer said: “She’s ready to run, but I’m very worried about the ground.

“There doesn’t look like there’s any rain around and I’d be very reluctant to risk her if it’s very quick.”

Gosden is, by contrast, pleased about the prospect of a fast surface for Winsili.

He said: “She’s in good order and if the ground dries up she’ll be happy.

“She didn’t stay in the Ribblesdale so it’s logical to drop back to a mile and a quarter, not necessarily for a Group 1 but you have to be bold.”

Ambivalent benefited from a beautiful front-running ride from Johnny Murtagh when claiming Group 1 honours in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in late June and he keeps the ride.

Trainer Roger Varian told his website: “The quicker the ground the better for her and if she handles the undulations, I think she is capable of running very well.”

Godolphin are represented by the talented Sajjhaa, a dual Group 1 winner at the Dubai Carnival earlier in the year and fourth in the QEII Cup in Hong Kong in April.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “There is a small question about the mile and a quarter – her best form is over a mile and one (furlong), and a mile. It is a tough race, but she is in good condition.”

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