Light And Shade in the Ritz
Light And Shade will attempt to land her second EBF Breeders' Fillies Series event when she lines up for the £30,000 Ritz Club EBF Breeders' Series Fillies' Handicap at Ascot on Saturday.
Light and Shade has a fine record over a straight mile
This one mile event has attracted a strong field of nine runners, mirroring Saturday's other leg of the new 20-race Series, the £30,000 mile and a quarter EBF Breeders' Series 32RedSport.com Fillies' Handicap at Haydock Park.
Light And Shade was the winner of the inaugural leg of this £625,000 Series back in May, also over the straight mile of the Royal Hunt Cup course.
Indeed, she is defending an unbeaten three-race record in straight mile races as she was successful in one at Yarmouth in June and annexed this very contest (before it was sponsored by EBF and hence worth half of this year's value) 12 months ago.
Trainer James Tate believes that she has strong claims of improving her record.
"Light And Shade will have her perfect conditions on Saturday as she has won all of her straight mile races," he said.
"She's a finisher and on straight courses the horses in front tend to come back to you."
"She's also a long-striding filly who doesn't like coming round bends and, although she doesn't like undulations either, the gradual incline at Ascot is fine for her. She may be off a 12lb higher mark than when she won this last year, but she won in a canter that day and has improved as a four-year-old."
"She has no specific ground preferences – she has won on both fast and soft – so it won't matter if the forecast showers hit or miss Ascot."
"This new EBF Breeders' Fillies Series has been absolutely fantastic and if it continues in future years I think you'll find that owners are inspired to keep more fillies in training. It fills the gap that most fillies fall into between winning a maiden and gaining black type and it's great for them to be able to compete against their own sex in valuable races."
Her main rivals include the recent easy Carlisle winner, Hidden Rebel, and the beautifully-bred Labyrinth, who will be striving to give owner Her Majesty The Queen a 'home' win on her own racecourse.
Up at Haydock, the standout contenders amongst a second nine-strong line-up are Trainnah, a Pivotal filly with some of the same bloodlines as Invincible Spirit who has won her last two starts, and Zest, another member of the Soviet Song family to thrive under the tutelage of trainer James Fanshawe.
The Series, which comes to an end with a £200,000 four-race finale at Newmarket on October 1st, has been specifically designed to give valuable opportunities to those fillies that fall just below black type level, encouraging their owners and owner-breeders to keep them in training rather than sell them for export or retire them.
Almost half of its prize money has been contributed by the British European Breeders' Fund, which itself is funded by British Stallion Farms.