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Auction the value bet in Ascot’s Valiant Stakes

Annecdote got the better of Auction in a closely fought encounter for the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot last month and the two clash again at the same venue today. Ed Dunlop’s filly is 4lbs better off at the weights today but it was her last run that suggested she is still on the upgrade.

Racing over this distance in the Coral Distaff, Auction was held up by Frankie Dettori and was badly hampered two furlongs from home. She rallied bravely to finish a rapidly closing fourth behind the smart Integral.

Ahead of her in second place was Richard Hannon’s Light Up My Life but she had been out in front and enjoyed a trouble-free passage. Paul Hanagan takes the ride on Auction this afternoon and must have every chance of reversing the placings.

Annecdote has not raced since Ascot so comes here fresh and has to be respected even with her penalty. Trainer Jonathan Portman admitted that he was slightly concerned at her wide draw in stall 11 but reports her to be in excellent form.

Godolphin are starting to make up for lost time and they have three representatives here in Dark Orchid, Falls Of Lora and Zibelina. Falls Of Lora won in this grade last season and was successful in Dubai in the spring.

The daughter of Street Cry ruined her chance at Newcastle by running too freely last time but will be a threat if she settles better here. Zibelina bolted up in a maiden race at the same venue and could be anything.

Auction’s biggest threat may come from Sir Michael Stoute’s Ultrasonic who has not enjoyed the best of fortune in her races this season. She got no run at Epsom behind Thistle Bird and was hampered at a crucial stage behind Gifted Girl at Pontefract last time out.

She ran a good race in between when a fair fourth behind Producer in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket over seven furlongs but this looks like her best trip.