Soviet Song Seeks to End Filly Drought in Queen Elizabeth II
Updated: Saturday, September 25, 2004 12:29 PM
Edited from Ascot reports
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2004 2:09 PM
Soviet Song attempts to bridge a 17-year gap by becoming the first filly since Milligram in 1987 to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes- Sponsored by Netjets (Eng-I) at Britain's Ascot Racecourse Saturday.
The prestigious race was promoted to group I status 1987, and it resulted in a clean sweep for females, with Milligram beating the mighty Miesque, and Sonic Lady taking third.
James Fanshawe reports Soviet Song as being none the worse for her success at Leopardstown, when she confirmed her Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) superiority over dual Guineas heroine Attraction in the Matron Stakes (Eng-I).
Attraction has opted out of a third clash, connections fearing rain, but Johnny Murtagh, who has found the key to getting the best out of Soviet Song, has no worries about the going.
"Good horses go on any ground, and Soviet Song has proved she is just that by winning on all types of surfaces," Murtagh said. "She picked up really well in the Matron and seems to have retained her form, and the break that James gave her after the Sussex Stakes seems to have done her good."
Soviet Song is the only filly in the 14-strong field, and she looks to be guaranteed the fast gallop that suits her so well since Godolphin Racing has entered Blatant to make the pace for Refuse To Bend.
The French have not triumphed since Bigstone in 1993, but Andre Fabre is uncharacteristically bullish about the chances of Diamond Green, who will relish the likely fast ground and has been a model of consistency at the top level this summer.
Norse Dancer looked like gaining a long-overdue big-race success when he struck the front at the furlong-pole in the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) and, while Azamour came from last to first to cut him down close home, David Elsworth has no qualms about coming back in distance with Norse Dancer, pointing to the great race that his luckless colt ran in last year's Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I).
Rakti, a big disappointment in the Leopardstown feature, runs over a mile for the first time and, though the shorter trip is a worry, it certainly won't be a problem for Two Thousand Guineas winner Haafhd who, like so many of Barry Hills's horses, lost his way midsummer, nor Aidan O'Brien's unbeaten and relatively unexposed colt Ace, whom stable jockey Jamie Spencer prefers to the enigmatic Antonius Pius.
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