Newmarket preview: Falmouth Stakes (15.15)
Trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger, the filly was a very useful juvenile who has posted two cracking efforts at the highest level in two runs this season and looked unlucky on both occasions.
In the first of those, Lucida went down by by just 3/4 of a length to Legatissimo in the 1000 Guineas on the Rowley mile course at this venue.
The daughter of Shamardal was awkwardly away as the stall opened, causing jockey Kevin Manning to briefly lose his irons and forfeiting valuable ground in the process.
To her credit Lucida quickly recovered, and after being switched wide made smooth headway two from home to hit the front at the furlong marker and shoot clear.
The race looked Lucida’s for the taking, but Legatissimo came with a late rattle to get up close home and in hindsight Manning had kicked for home too early and the result may have been different had he held onto her for longer.
Lucida then enjoyed no luck in-running when third to Ervedya in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot when arguably given too much to do.
After being held-up well off the pace, the three-year-old was denied a run at a crucial stage and Manning was forced to switch out wide to deliver a challenge.
When Lucida did see daylight she finished strongly to go down by just 3/4 of a length, and it was another question of what might have been for connections.
However, Lucida’s form is just about the best on offer and she can gain compensation in this 1m contest.
Last year’s winner Integral would be big player on the pick of her form, but the Sir Michael Stoute trained mare was bitterly disappointing at Royal Ascot and faces a huge task to retain her crown in what looks a much stronger renewal.
I can’t see her being good enough to beat Lucida, and the French pair of Avenir Certain and Fintry look the biggest dangers.
Fintry came out on top by 1/2 a length when the pair met last time out in a Group 3 at Chantilly, but it was a huge step back in the right direction for the runner-up after a disappointing reappearance run and I fancy Avenir Certain to reverse the placings.
The filly was unbeaten prior to the Arc last year, when sent off at just 6/1, and is a class act with a huge engine and potent turn of foot when on-song.