Video form plus comments on Euros in E.P. Taylor
Aim to Please photo courtesy of Michael Adolphson via Twitter
This video form guide supplements the preview of the E.P. Taylor (G1).
The Juddmonte homebred followed up her maiden romp at Newmarket with a resounding victory from far off the pace in the Pretty Polly. Taking the hood off for the French Oaks (G1), Swiss Range sweated up and raced too keenly. She loomed in the stretch, but unsurprisingly flattened out and got swamped late:
Trainer John Gosden put the hood back on Swiss Range for the Nassau (G1) at Glorious Goodwood. After leading, she folded late in a poor fourth:
The Nassau form is strong, as illustrated once again on Champions Day. The victorious Minding just racked up her seventh Group 1 in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II (G1) versus the boys, and runner-up Queen’s Trust was a troubled third in the British Champion Fillies and Mares (G1).
Although Swiss Range hasn't proven up to the elite level so far, she's obviously shown enough at home for as shrewd a judge as Gosden to try her in such hot races. That alone makes me want to keep the faith.
Aim to Please
Trainer Francois Doumen had no scruple about pitching Aim to Please against the boys as a juvenile, and she rewarded his confidence with a convincing display in the Prix Francois Boutin. Favored to beat males again in the Prix La Rochette (G3), she endured a tough trip in sixth.
Aim to Please didn’t perform up to her best at the beginning of this season either. After she pulled too hard in the French 1000 Guineas (G1) and flopped behind La Cressonniere, she got a rider switch to Gerald Mosse, and he’s proven the key player in her renaissance.
Although she got off to a slow start, and was consequently strung up in traffic, in the Prix de Sandringham (G2), Aim to Please showed a strong kick for third. She was unlucky not to be second to the runaway Volta. She stuck to a mile for the Prix de Lieurey (G3) and, judging by her staying-on third, desired more ground.
When upped to nine furlongs in the Prix Bertrand de Tarragon (G3), Aim to Please hit a new career high (fast forward to the 10-minute mark for the actual race):
Doumen and Mosse combined to take the 2012 E.P. Taylor with Siyouma. Aim to Please doesn't have her resume at the moment, but we may not have seen the best of her yet.
Opening her career with a pair of all-weather wins this winter, Nezwaah was an encouraging third in her turf and stakes debut in the Fillies’ Trial at Newbury. The Roger Varian trainee reiterated her synthetic ability in the Hoppings at Newcastle, where she dusted older fillies. But she never made her presence felt in last of five behind La Cressonniere in the Prix de la Nonette (G2).
Nezwaah bounced back with a fine runner-up effort to Breeders’ Cup-bound So Mi Dar in the John Musker Fillies’ at Yarmouth. So Mi Dar, hitherto the unbeaten Musidora (G3) winner, has since run a bang-up third in the Prix de l’Opera (G1). Opera heroine Speedy Boarding underscored the value of the form with her second in Saturday’s British Champions Fillies and Mares.
Post 12 will test Nezwaah's upwardly mobile profile, however, and that may make her more of a place chance – just like the same connections’ Talmada last year.
Best in the World
The full sister to Found scored a workmanlike success in the Silken Glider at two, but has taken a while to come to hand this season. The O’Brien pupil showed a glimmer of life with her rallying sixth in the Kilboy Estate (G2).
Her breakthrough came at last in the Give Thanks (G3) at Cork. Best in the World took the length of stretch to get past better fancied stablemate Somehow, apparently needing every yard of the 1 1/2 miles:
She tried hard in the Blandford (G2) on the cutback to 10 furlongs, but couldn’t master the bold front runner Shamreen. Allowing for the fact that forward types benefited on the Curragh’s portion of Irish Champions Weekend, the Blandford result lent substance to the idea that Best in the World may prefer a longer trip.
In the form of her life since switching to Henri-Francois Devin, Banzari excels in soft conditions. She pounced with a well-timed move in the Prix Luth Enchantee at Clairefontaine, and led throughout in the La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte (G3):
The chestnut with the white stripe tracking her is Ame Bleue, who found the Flower Bowl (G1) too deep for her last Saturday. I’m tempted to extrapolate to Banzari’s chances here. Although she was nominated to the E.P. Taylor in her previous owner’s name, I’m also tempted to wonder if new owner Bobby Flay is at least partly the reason for this transatlantic raid. That said, as a prominently placed type who might get her ground on Sunday, the Motivator filly could outperform her odds and my stubborn ideas.
Trained by Waldemar Hickst in Germany, Parvaneh broke her maiden in her third try, and her sophomore debut, in the Karin Baronin von Ullman (G3):
Fifth against males in the German 2000 Guineas (G2) over the same mile at Cologne, and a subpar 12th in the German 1000 Guineas (G2), the Holy Roman Emperor filly was a rallying fifth in the 1 3/8-mile German Oaks (G1).
Parvaneh profited on the step up to 1 1/2 miles to land the T von Zastrow Stutenpreis (G2) at Baden-Baden, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1):
Tackling open company in the Preis von Europa (G1), Parvaneh was fourth to the top-class older distaffer Nightflower, who was coming off consecutive seconds in Group 1s versus males. Two starts prior, Nightflower was runner-up to Protectionist in Berlin, giving a form tie-in to the Canadian International (G1). I'm a little concerned about Parvaneh's shortening up to 10 furlongs in a highly competitive Grade 1.
Bonus coverage of Divine in the Nearctic (G2)
Divine is a hit-or-miss type, but her best bits put of form would put her right there. Her 2016 highlights are winning the Ballyogan (G3) handsomely over fellow distaffers and going down by a head to The Tin Man in the Hackwood (G3). That result assumes greater importance, since The Tin Man has subsequently finished second in the Haydock Sprint Cup (G1) and just captured Saturday’s British Champions Sprint (G1).
Postscript on Lasix and ground conditions: Swiss Range, Parvaneh, Best in the World, and Nezwaah will receive Lasix, while Banzari and Aim to Please will not. If the ground goes soft, it will suit Aim to Please and Banzari just fine. Swiss Range and Best in the World have won in similar conditions. Parvaneh hasn’t, but it may devolve into a parlor game of comparing German “good” to the amount of moisture that Woodbine absorbs. Nezwaah has yet to race over turf less than good, but horses who do as well as she does on synthetic may go just as well on a rain-affected track. And many offspring of Dubawi can run on anything (with Erupt being an exception). Nearctic runner Divine, who doesn’t add Lasix, would prefer the going to remain on the good side.