Jessica Harrington is seeking a third straight victory in the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes (15:10) and this year she is responsible for three of the 12 runners, headed by the likely market leader in the shape of Sounds of Heaven (Timeform weight-adjusted rating: 118).
Sounds of Heaven comfortably sets the standard in this Group 3 having confirmed herself a smart filly when finishing third (beaten just over a length behind Tahiyra) in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Admittedly, she needs to bounce back from a below-par effort in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville last time, but this represents a significant drop in grade and she shapes like a filly who will be suited by stepping up in trip. On paper, it looks an excellent opportunity for her to regain the winning thread for Harrington, who has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag to denote that her yard is in top form.
Sounds of Heaven is joined in the line-up by stablemates Village Voice (108) and Starry Heavens (98). A listed winner at Navan in April, Village Voice proved at least as good as ever when filling the runner-up spot in a Group 3 at Gowran last time, ultimately proving no match for the winner (beaten three lengths) but keeping on well to emerge as best of the rest. She isn't without each-way claims once again, whereas Starry Heavens is likely to find this much tougher than the listed contest she won at Longchamp last time.
British raider Pink Carnation (111) is one of the form principals judged on her runner-up effort in a listed race at Nottingham in May, though she's been below that form in both her subsequent starts, while Empress of Beauty (108p) is a potential improver in the line-up for Henry de Bromhead. She was last seen finishing third in a Group 3 at Leopardstown in July, sticking to her task well to pass the post only two and a quarter lengths behind the winner. She remains with potential after just the three starts and is one to be interested in at this sort of level.
American Sonja (108) and Maxux (97p) both line up for Joseph O'Brien, who also has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag. American Sonja has been knocking at the door in similar company since winning a listed race at Longchamp in June and the application of cheekpieces could eke out a bit more improvement. As for Maxux, she wasn't seen to best effect when finishing sixth in a listed race at the Curragh last month, still appearing full of running at the line having met trouble. That was just her third run and the feeling remains that she has a bigger effort in the locker when everything falls right.
Kerkiyra (107+) finished one place ahead of Maxux at the Curragh, though she was well positioned given how that race developed and didn't appear to have any excuses. Flame of Eire (106) is another who looks vulnerable at this sort of level following a couple of disappointing runs, latterly when finishing sixth in a Group 3 at the Curragh last month, a race in which American Sonja was beaten just a neck in second.
Lady Lunette (101+) was sixth in a big-field handicap at the Curragh last time, finishing with running left having met all sorts of trouble in the straight. That performance earned her the 'Horse In Focus' Flag and she is well worth a try up in grade given how progressive she'd looked previously. Similar comments apply to Time To Boogie (88p), another likely improver following her recent maiden success at Navan for Aidan O'Brien, who also has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag.
The field is completed by Joupe (101?), who is a fairly useful handicapper but has generally been found wanting in her previous attempts at listed level.
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
An open Group 3 contest in which it could pay to give another chance to Sounds of Heaven who wasn't at her best when sixth in Deauville's Prix Rothschild last time but holds leading claims on her Coronation Stakes third at the Royal meeting. Empress of Beauty has better days ahead of her and could emerge as the chief threat ahead of Village Voice and Lady Lunette.
Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings:
118 Sounds of Heaven
111 Pink Carnation
108p Empress of Beauty
108 American Sonja
108 Village Voice
106 Flame of Eire
101+ Lady Lunette
98 Starry Heavens
88p Time To Boogie
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