Following the heady brew of last Saturday’s Derby this weekend’s offerings are of a much thinner beer, but nevertheless, Haydock’s Pinnacle Stakes looks an interesting and competitive heat, so let’s hope we can find the winner. The race was first run in 2003 as a Listed contest for fillies and mares, but was elevated to Group3 status in 2012 when it was won by Roger Varian’s 5yo mare, Shimmering Surf. The 2004 renewal was won by Luca Cumani with the 4yo Pongee, and he will be hoping for a second success with another filly of the same age, the beautifully bred, God Given.
By Nathaniel out of the Dubai Destination mare, Ever Rigg, she is a half sister to the fantastic, Postponed, (winner of almost £5,000,000 in prize money). It’s a safe bet she won’t be climbing similar heights but she has won three of her eight starts, including at Group3 level, at Deauville last August, when winning the Prix Minerve over 1m4 1/2f. She made all and found plenty when pressed at the furlong marker and won going away by 1 3/4L and a Nk from Calayana and Lady Montdore, with the well backed favourite, Elas Ruby a further Hd behind. In the context of Saturday’s race this was pretty strong form as the John Gosden trained Elas Ruby had previously got to within 1 1/4L of the Group2 winning Strathspey. Upped to Group1 level in the last race of her 3yo career, God Given wasn’t disgraced finishing 6th, 7 3/4L behind Bateel, in The Prix Vermille at Chantilly. She made her seasonal debut following a 35 week break, in The Buckhound Stakes, (Ascot May 12 1m 4f Gd/Fm) where, racing very freely she faded in the final furlong to finish 4th, 4 1/2L behind the winner, Barsanti, but it’s worth noting, was only 2 1/4L behind Salouen, who so nearly stole last week’s Group1 Coronation Cup. With the weather set fair for the weekend a serious concern would be the ground as God Given has done all her winning on a soft surface, although she did seem to handle Good/Firm in the Buckhound at Ascot, and her half brother, Postponed was fine on it.
A winner of six of her twenty starts, The Marc Johnston trained Titi Makfi has largely been campaigned at distances shorter than Saturday but she looked as if a step back up to 1m4f would suit when a staying on 3rd in the 10f Rothesay Stakes at Ayr seventeen days ago. Perhaps her best performance to date was indeed over 1m4f when running the useful Isabel De Urbina To half a length in the Listed Warwick Fillies Stakes at the beginning of May. She handles most surfaces and coming from this yard has to be worth considering.
The Roger Charlton trained Cribbs Causeway has won five of her thirteen starts and ran well last time tackling Group3 company for the first time. In the 1m6f Dubai Bronte Cup Fillies Stakes at York, she appeared to have every chance at the furlong marker but edged left, and finished 3rd, 2L behind the winner, Precious Ramotswe. This was a very promising run on her first outing for 205 days as she had Isabel De Urbina 2L behind in 4th. The drop back in trip to 1m4 1/2 furlongs could well be in her favour, as she impressed when winning a valuable Class2 Newmarket Handicap over 1m4f from the useful Teofonic last October, and her half brother, Voyager Blue is best at around a mile.
The Kevin Ryan trained 5yo, Company Asset has never raced beyond 1m2 1/2f but looked ready for a step up in trip when finishing 4th in The Rothesay last time. Having her first run for 213 days she was slowly into her stride and made some progress over a furlong out but despite not having the pace to challenge, did keep on well.
The Keith Dalgleish trained 4yo, Euro Nightmare, won the 10f Rothesay pretty comfortably with Titi Makfi and Company Asset, as we saw, well held, but I’m not so sure she can repeat the performance over Saturday’s trip. While she has been placed over 13 and 14 furlongs at a lower level, her optimum distance does seem to be 10f.
The Willie Mullins trained 5yo, Law Girl, with only a single modest victory from nine starts on the flat in France, was purchased by The Ricci’s with a hurdling career in mind. However with just one win in a Roscommon Maiden from her five starts over hurdles the future didn’t look particularly bright until, coming back from a 226 day winter break, she ran a promising race to finish 3rd in a modest contest at Killarney (May15 1m6f) and confirmed connections hopes nineteen days later when winning another modest affair at Listowel, very easily indeed. Saturday represents a huge step up in class but coming from this yard I suppose anything is possible.
Selection : God Given (if abs) Cribbs Causeway
E.W. : Titi Makfi