07/14/2010 5:15PM

Special Duty, Lillie Langtry top high-quality line up for Falmouth

Email

The Falmouth Stakes, a Group 1, $280,000 mile for fillies and mares, opens Newmarket’s July meeting with a bang on Wednesday when two-time 1000 Guineas winner Special Duty squares off against Lillie Langtry, winner of Royal Ascot’s Coronation Stakes. Two other group race winners at the Royal meeting, Strawberrydaiquiri and Rainfall, make this a special race in which the eight runners all sport Racing Post Ratings as high as 117 but none lower than 113.

Special Duty makes the same trip from Criquette Head-Maarek’s Chantilly training quarters that resulted in victories in last year’s Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes and the 1000 Guineas on May 2. She has since won the French 1000 Guineas on her home soil, but both of Special Duty’s classic wins have an asterisk next to them because she was placed first via disqualification each time. Christophe Lemaire rides her for the first time, replacing the injured Stephane Pasquier.

Ladbrokes’ 2-1 favorite is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Lillie Langtry. The impressive winner of the one-mile, Group 1 Coronation Stakes, Lillie Langry was finally living up to her potential that day following a close fifth off a 6 1/2-month layoff in the Irish 1000 Guineas. Johnny Murtagh will be at the controls once again.

Gile Na Greine was second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in the Coronation and was just a neck behind Special Duty when third in the English 1000. A repeat of either effort puts her right there.

Rainfall looked sharp at Ascot beating 12 colts in the seven-furlong, Group 3 Jersey Stakes in just her third career start. Trainer Mark Johnston is hoping that Rainfall can get the added furlong with Frankie Dettori riding her for the first time.

The last of the five 3-year-olds is the Michael Channon-trained Music Show. Winner of the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes and third, beaten a half-length in the Irish 1000 Guineas, she was third, 3 3/4 lengths behind Lillie Langtry, at Ascot and may be in a bit over her head.

Strawberrydaiquiri is the best of the three older runners in the Falmouth. The winner of six of her last seven starts, Strawberrydaiquiri led throughout to take the one-mile, Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes and may give Lillie Langtry the most to worry about. Ryan Moore has chosen to ride her over Rainfall.

Spacious, who won last year’s Windsor Forest before finishing third, a length behind Goldikova in the Falmouth, was just a short head second to Strawberrydaiquiri in this year’s Windsor Forest and may be the value play at 8-1 with Kieren Fallon aboard.

Lahaleeb, winner of Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor, makes her first start for Gerard Butler after three unplaced efforts in Dubai and Singapore.

◗ Memory should be able to confirm her favoritism in the $105,000 Cherry Hinton Stakes, a six-furlong, Group 2 test for 2-year-old fillies. She was the short head winner over 21 rivals in Royal Ascot’s six-furlong, Group 3 Albany Stakes in which Radharcnafarraige, winner of the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Fillies Stakes, was a fading fourth. Lily Again can improve off a good second in a Chantilly allowance, as can Godolphin’s Doncaster maiden winner Tanfeer.