1pt win Lilac Road @10/1, 14:25 York, Thursday

1m2½f Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Just the six line-up for the Middleton Stakes and I could see it being quite a tactical affair with no obvious pacemaker in the line-up that could throw up a very tight sprint finish.

Michael Stoute has two interesting runners with Ville De Grace and Noon Star. The latter is very lightly-raced and finished second in the Musidora Stakes here at York last season behind Snowfall. She returned after a 300 day-break to claim a decent victory by a head at Nottingham last time out in a conditions race.

Noon Star feels like she could be one for the longer term with an excellent pedigree. I also think there are question marks against both the Irish raiders in Thunder Kiss and Forebearance, who have class but are stepping back in trip in a race that I am not sure will be run to suit either of them.

In opposition, I think the odds of 10/1 for LILAC ROAD look way too big based on her form in the book. Lilac Road has shown greater tenacity and talent in her career thus far. Her best performances have come over this 1m 2f trip and on this type of ground. She has the required tactical speed but also the stamina and she beat the same solid filly in Technique, that was beaten by Noon Star on reappearance by the same distance so that form ties in quite closely.

Lilac Road has also faced Ville De Grace twice losing out, narrowly on the first occasion in her final start last season when losing a shoe and coming from the back of a big field.

On the second occasion, 11 days ago, Lilac Road shaped with plenty of promise on her first start of the season when most likely needing the run. Still only four-years-old, like the two market leaders, she is open to more improvement and can come on a fair bit from her opening run of the campaign.

1pt win Lilac Road @10/1, 14:25 York, Thursday

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