Thistle Bird can swoop to repeat success
Thistle Bird looks primed to win the Prince of Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom today (1.35) for the second year running.
The Roger Charlton trained mare won three Listed races in 2012, and looked better still last season when winning this race in good style before going on to perform well at the highest level.
The six-year-old showed a smart turn of foot to beat Gifted Girl by 3/4 of a length in this contest, and went on to finish an excellent neck second to Winsili in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Newmarket.
The daughter of Selkirk also put in a cracking effort on her final start when beaten just a 1/4 of a length into third behind Dalkala in the Group 1 Prix De L’Opera at Longchamp.
That form sets the standard in this race, and Thistle Bird’s official rating of 114 puts her 4lb and upwards clear of her rivals.
It’s also interesting that Thistle Bird won this on her second start last season, and she bids to follow the same route this time around having shaped as if needing the run when sixth in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York last month.
The main danger according to the official rating is Just The Judge.
The Charlie Hills trained filly put in a cracking effort on her first run last season when chasing home Sky Lantern in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, and then went one better in the Irish equivalent when comfortably beating Rehn’s Nest by 1 1/2 lengths.
The daughter of Lawman then ran very well to finish third behind Sky Lantern in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot before disapointing in two subsequent starts.
Just The Judge also ran below par when well beaten in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket on her seasonal reappearance, and ideally needs quick ground to be seen to maximum effect.
Although undoubtedly talented, Just The Judge now has questions to answer and I am also not convinced that the undualtions of the track will be ideal.
A bigger danger to Thistle Bird may well turn out to be Odeliz, who finished in front of her when third in the Middleton at York.
The Karl Burke trained filly is progressing nicely and should have more to offer, but had the benefit of two runs going into the Middleton and will need to improve again to confirm the placings with Thistle Bird who is entitled to come on significantly for the run.