European trio take on Quidura in E P Taylor Stakes

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Alastair Bull

October 12th, 2017

The Canadian International (G1) is the highlight of racing at Woodbine Oct. 15, but there is a strong undercard with plenty of good horses.

Three horses have made their way from Europe for the 1 ¼-mile E P Taylor Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares, headed by the 5-2 morning-line favorite Nezwaah. The Roger Varian-trained filly finished seventh in this race last year, but has since won the Pretty Polly Stakes (G1) in Ireland and finished fourth to Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1).

Pretty Polly Stakes runner-up Rain Goddess makes the trip to Canada for Aidan O’Brien, while the third European is Blond Me, runner-up in the Nassau Stakes (G1).

Heading the North American team is Quidura, winner of the Canadian Stakes (G2) and runner-up in the Diana Stakes (G2) behind Lady Eli. There’s every chance she’ll be good enough to compete with the visitors.

The six-furlong Natalma Stakes (G2) has drawn a good field of turf sprinters, but the locals might be hard-pressed to beat the British visitor Cotai Glory.

He’s won just four of his 28 starts, but the form is high-quality. This year his efforts include a third-place finish in the Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) behind Marsha and Lady Aurelia, and a second-place finish at Newbury in the Dubai International World Trophy (G3), a race he won last year.

Those races are all at five furlongs, and the big question about him is how he will go at six furlongs. He hasn’t managed it as well on straight tracks in Europe, but he could manage it better around a turn at Woodbine.

Brad Cox’s flyer Dowse’s Beach returns to Woodbine after finishing second in the Play the King Stakes (G2) Aug. 19, and should have good chance from barrier one. Bold Venture Stakes (G3) winner Ikerrin Road, Christophe Clement’s White Flag, and Yorkton are all worth considering.

The big race on the all-weather main track is the Ontario Derby (G3), which sees the return to Woodbine of the Queen’s Plate winner Holy Helena. She failed on dirt in the Alabama Stakes (G1) at her only run since, but she should enjoy the return to the Tapeta.

Senior Investment, third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and winner of the Lexington Stakes (G3), should provide a strong challenge. Queen’s Plate runner-up Tiz a Slam, American Derby second-place finisher Gorgeous Kitten, and the good filly Grizzel are all worth a thought.