QE II Challenge Cup Sets Up Interesting Tactical Clash as They Battle New Race Engine

QE II Challenge Cup – Grade I
 KEE Race #5 1 1/8m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $500.000 For Fillies Three Years Old.

With all the top horses locked into the BC there are a couple of opportunities this weekend for any stragglers to squeeze in and also for the second ranked and non BC horses to get some nice purses. The three year olds go here for a very nice prize, here is how they line up:

1       Saddle Up        Our Athletes         Velazquez J R

This is just the sort of filly that can pick up a grade one at a time when she may just be still on the outskirts of that level. That is not to say she wont be a top filly she has just not got there yet, maybe today she will take her chance. The winner of four from nine she has progressed quickly after taking her time to break maidens and is on a nice run of form at the moment. Three wins in a row culminated in an all the way win in the Athenia last time and with this race not being much stronger she gets a great chance to make it four in a row.

2      Hawaii County        Mb Stables        Hernandez C J

How many times do we see two Mb Stables runners drawn alongside each other, well they have managed to do it again today and not only do they have the best draws but they are the best fillies in the race too. That may be a bold statement but on form alone only Amalfi can compete and she is drawn out in the cheap seats. So i guess we are left just working out which filly from the stable will win and i think this one may just have the edge. Her run against the older fillies and mares in the KD Ladies Turf last time was really good beaten just a length into fourth. The only real negative i see with her is that she has just been a little one paced at the end of her races and that may leave her vulnerable at the end.

3       Twisted Express      Mb Stables        Gutierrez Mario

The second stable runner and the DMR Oaks winner and whilst that looks very good for a race like this she didn’t do so well against the older’s as her stable mate last time and that is what led me to put her second best. If you look at this race every horse wants to lead or stalk so we may get a strange race but with two runners the stable will have the chance to play the odds and that may be enough to see them get the one two.

4       Spirit Nav        TwinTowersRacing       Cedillo A

One of the two runners that may be the closer’s in the race her best chance may come with all the top runners breaking each others necks to get on pace and setting some fast early sectionals. If that happens just maybe this one will come home late but it has to be said that on recent form she isn’t the obvious choice.

5          Chai State           Smokey Stover          Davis D

This may just end up being the surprise package in this race as she seems to have hit her improvement incline at the right time. She took six goes to break her maiden and only did so in June but since then has won a nice allowance at SAR and is running some very nice work times.

6        Belmont Strong       TwinTowersRacing       Saez G

I haven’t seen too many races with two runners from the stable so they will have a similar opportunity to Mb Stables to make the race suitable for at least one of their runners. This consistent bridesmaid looks the better of the two and is a filly that seems to be able to come late or run on speed which will give her options in what may be a tactical affair. Se has never won on turf but then she has only won one race and she did well enough in a DMR optional claimer over this trip to give her a chance. On paper that chance doesn’t look great but i think she may be another that runs better than her form.

7      Youcantcatchme        Fractious          Bridgmohan S X

Beat Belmont Strong in that DMR optional claimer after taking the Pucker Up Stakes before that so is clearly in very good form. She made all at DMR and the Pucker Up so she may try and get the lead again today which may make her wide gate an advantage as we all know the speed push is still there if you want to use it.

8        Amalfi          D J C Racing Stables          Jaramillo E

Beaten a half length by Twisted Express in the DMR Oaks she led from the gate that day and kept on really well but may be better off finding the stalk today as i feel the race for the lead will be very hot. Three times a stakes winner she is right up there with the Mb pair on form so must be a great chance.


Here we have three grade one proven fillies against fillies that are on the up or ready to out run their best form. The obvious trifecta is the Mb pair and Amalfi but i think this will be an odd tactical race as the race engine is forcing everyone to want to lead or stalk and the best runners in this race have all had success doing that. One horse will get the perfect run and that is normally an Mb runner so i guess that’s the way we must go.

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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