Relief Rally switches up for Lowther challenge

William Haggas’ Relief Rally will be tested over six furlongs in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York after an impressive string of five-furlong performances.

The daughter of Kodiac has been beaten just once in four runs, winning a novice and a conditions race before stepping up to Group Two level in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

There she was beaten just a nose by the American challenger Crimson Advocate in a busy field of 26 runners.

She lost little in defeat and was a winner again when heading to Newbury for the Super Sprint, a race she won by three lengths under regular rider Tom Marquand.

The same jockey will receive the leg-up on the Knavesmire, where Relief Rally steps up to six furlongs for the first time against a group of eight rivals for the Group Two Lowther.

Trainer William Haggas said: “She’ll run a good race. She’s a lovely filly – very fast, very able, goes on any ground.

“She should get the trip – I think she’ll enjoy the trip.”

Relief Rally will face Andrew Balding’s Flora Of Bermuda, a Dark Angel filly last seen winning the Alice Keppel at Goodwood by a convincing four lengths.

Prior to that the grey was sixth of 26 in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, where she was the first home in the group on the far side as the race split into three bunches across the track.

“She won well at Goodwood in different ground conditions, we’re looking forward to seeing her over six furlongs and she seems in great form,” said Balding.

“You never quite know until you try, but it’s a nice race for her and the timing is right.

“The draw was a factor there (at Ascot) but it won’t be here, it’s a smaller field.

“Hopefully we’ll get a fair race and fingers crossed she runs well.”

Also well-fancied is Aidan O’Brien’s Cherry Blossom, a No Nay Never filly with form over six furlongs as she won a Curragh maiden over the trip by five lengths earlier in August.

Prior to that she notably made her debut in Listed company, finishing fourth in the Marwell Stakes when beaten only a length and a quarter.

“We started her off in a Listed race and she ran well,” said O’Brien.

“She’d taken a big step forward from that and we’ve always liked her. Any ease in the ground would be an advantage to her.”

Charlie Appleby and Godolphin have a runner in Star Of Mystery, winner of the Listed Empress Stakes and second in the Duchess of Cambridge at Newmarket’s July Cup meeting.

Karl Burke, who was victorious last year with Swingalong, has two chances with Beautiful Diamond and Dorothy Lawrence.

Beautiful Diamond was third in the Queen Mary when racing alone behind the leading duo, prior to which she was a decisive winner of a Nottingham maiden.

Dorothy Lawrence has more racing experience having run four times, including a good course effort when second in the Marygate by half a length in May.

Following that performance she was third at Chantilly and then won for the first time in an Ayr maiden last month.

Running in the same Clipper Logistics silks for Michael Bell will be Queen’s Guard, who comes into the race having won a Yarmouth maiden last time, with Irish trainer Paddy Twomey represented by Airlie Stud Stakes second Gunzburg.

Clive Cox will saddle Symbology, a winner over course and distance on debut before finishing third in the Princess Margaret at Ascot.

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