QATAR LILLIE LANGTRY STAKES – 3.00pm – 1m6f 3yo+ Fillies Group 2
The final Group race of Glorious Goodwood is yet another small field assembled, but four classy fillies & mares come forward in another intriguing clash between the Classic generation and their elders; it is well worth noting that the only two 3 year old fillies in Thursday’s Nassau Stakes finished 1st and 2nd.
Both 3 year old fillies Cabaletta (Mastercraftsman x Allegretto (Galileo)) & Snow (Galileo x Chelsea King (Desert King)) are trying 1m6f for the first time, but are both highly likely to appreciate the extra yardage on breeding. Cabaletta is the 6th foal of Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak winner Allegretto (Galileo x Alleluia (Caerleon)), a mare whose four further wins at Group level all came between 1m4f and 2m. Cabaletta is the winner of two of her four starts to date, most recently when winning a modest renewal of the 1m4f Listed Aphrodite Stakes at Newbury earlier this month with something in hand, never looking stronger than at the line. She should relish this step up in trip but, whilst she is still unexposed after just four starts, Cabaletta has got a good bit to find here, even with a generous 11lb weight-for-age allowance to help.
Likely to provide sterner competition in the 3 year old department is Snow, whose best piece of form has so far come when finishing runner-up to One Voice (Poet’s Voice x Zaaqya (Nayef)) in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes over 1m2f at Leopardstown. One Voice would go on to frank that form to no end when running a screamer to finish 2nd in Thursday’s Group 1 Nassau Stakes, whilst Snow would do her own bit for the form by winning the 1m4f Group 3 Munster Oaks at Cork on her following racecourse outing. Snow was last seen setting soft fractions in front in the Group 1 Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh two weeks ago but was unable to put her positional advantage to good use, lacking the speed to take any sort of margin out of her rivals when it was needed, instead staying on at the one pace to finish 5th, beaten 5½ lengths. The step up to 1m6f+ looks sure to bring about further improvement in Snow, much like it did in her full-brother Kew Gardens (Galileo x Chelsea King (Desert King)), but whether her form is good enough in this context remains to be seen.
Manuela De Vega (Lope De Vega x Roscoff (Daylami)) has been a wonderfully consistent filly through her career, finishing in the first 3 on no less than 9 of her 11 starts and running consistently useful figures to boot. She was the comfortable winner of an otherwise modest renewal of the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock last time out (with Cabaletta over 12 lengths adrift that day), and the start before had the measure of Fanny Logan (Sea The Stars x Linda Radlett (Manduro)) in the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes over the same course & distance; Fanny Logan would go on to win the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on her next start. With stamina assured, and seemingly in as good form as she’s ever been, Manuela De Vega is entitled to a great deal of respect.
However, the last time that Manuela De Vega encountered ground faster than ‘good’ was in this race last year, where she finished 5 lengths adrift of Enbihaar (Redoute’s Choice x Chanterelle (Trempolino)), a 3-time Group 2 winner who looks to have been kept in training as a 5 year old mare to have another crack at the Group 1 Qatar Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend. Enbihaar reappeared earlier this month in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting and ran very well on unsuitably soft going in a performance that looked to be an excellent starting point for her campaign. Enbihaar is proven at Goodwood and should relish the return to racing on faster going. Moreover, having carried a 3lb penalty, conceded 11lb in weight-for-age allowances and handed out a 5 length defeat to Manuela De Vega in last year’s race, she is now in receipt of 3lb from the same filly. Naturally, given she comes into the Lillie Langtry off the back of a different prep, the question mark lingers over whether Enbihaar will be in the same form as she was last year. Otherwise, she has plenty going for her this afternoon and, as the market implies, she is far and away the one to beat.
Manuela De Vega & Snow have both gone forward in recent starts, and can ensure this year’s Lillie Langtry Stakes is not run at a dawdle, leaving the door wide open for Enbihaar to take back-to-back runnings of the race. With no penalties, the step up in trip, the track and the ground all in her favour, she rates a confident selection. Manuela De Vega can chase her home; the 3 year old’s could just come up short in this.