Alice Springs powes clear of her rivals in the Falmouth StakesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Alice Springs lands gamble in Falmouth
Report: Newmarket, Friday
Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes (Group 1) 1m, 3yo+ fillies & mares
THE market spoke volumes before the July festival day two highlight as the heavily-backed Alice Springs struck a blow for the Classic generation, while uneasy favourite Usherette faltered.
The gaping chasm between the pair in the overnight betting closed remarkably leading up to the race, with Alice Springs shortening to 5-2 (from a high of 13-2) and Usherette going all the way out to odds against.
The writing was on the wall that the money would not be misplaced just after the two-furlong pole as Ryan Moore hit the front on the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly and the pair scorched to an impressive victory, lowering the course record in the process.
Moore said: "Aidan said he felt she'd improved. She's a big girl who's been kept busy and she deserved that. I think she's getting better, she's improved all year."
Usherette, the impressive winner of Duke of Cambridge Stakes, was held up by Mickael Barzalona and never got involved, while last year’s winner Amazing Maria was also disappointing as Godolphin pair Very Special (16-1) and Always Smile (8-1) followed the winner home.
Previously winless in nine attempts at Group level, Alice Springs still possessed some highly respectable form, particularly her third-placed finishes in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes last time. She relished the fast ground and duly delivered O'Brien a first win in the Falmouth.
Could be upped in trip
Paul Smith, son of winning part-owner Derrick Smith, said: "She did that very well. She settled beautifully and got a lovely lead into the race before quickening really well.
"Aidan had been very happy with her since the Coronation and was expecting a big run but we had a lot of respect for Andre's horse [Usherette].
"She took the race well today and when they took the saddle off she was very relaxed. She's in a good place and could stay at a mile or go over a mile and a quarter."
No obvious explanation
The performance of Usherette, winner of six of her previous seven starts and so highly rated by Andre Fabre, left connections puzzled.
The trainer said: "It's obviously a big disappointment but I have looked at her and I can't see anything wrong.
"She was on her toes before the race but she is always like that. She has several options for the rest of the year but we will just take her home and see what happens."