Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Odds

Keeneland is the site of an invasion on Saturday when the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes shapes up as a Euro-fest, with G1 winner Mawj and G1-placed Sounds Of Heaven shipping in to take on the ex-French pair Elusive Princess and Lindy in a strong contest.

Breeders Cup Odds

Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes

G1, $600,000, 1m 1f turf, 3yo fillies, 5.16pm ET

Turf racing is really a European thing and the QEII Challenge Cup, the feature at Keeneland on Saturday, is a convincing demonstration of that, with the morning-line all over the day-trippers and their compatriots who have already brought their talent to bear on the sport Stateside.

The favourite Mawj (2-1) has been in the bullpen since early May, when she battled to a dramatic victory over the brilliant four-time G1 winner Tahiyra in the 2023 G1 1,000 Guineas over the Newmarket mile.

Mawj won by a half-length, inflicting the only defeat in Tahiyra’s career, and there is no better form anywhere on turf at a mile. The extra eighth here is a new thing and that is more of a concern than the five-month layoff.

Market rival Elusive Princess (3-1) was G1-placed in France and hit pay dirt on her first start in the US, coming from far back for an easy score in the 2023 G3 Saratoga Oaks over a mile and three-sixteenths, with Papilio (10-1) beaten three and three-quarter lengths into third. A soft track helped her and she may not get those conditions today.

Lindy (6-1) was four places and four and a half lengths behind Elusive Princess in the ten-furlong 2023 G1 Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly, and made an instant impact on her debut Stateside, although it was a weak four-runner allowance over a mile at Kentucky Downs. Her French mile form gives her a chance.

Irish raider Sounds Of Heaven (8-1) has only raced at a mile, did not like the mud in France last time, but is not far behind Mawj on the evidence of her show spot in the 2023 G1 Coronation at Royal Ascot, a length and a quarter behind Tahiyra. The extra yardage and likely fast ground are positives.

Arc-winning trainer Jean-Claude Rouget sends Elounda Queen (10-1), who has been steadily improving and made her stakes breakthrough in the 2023 G3 Lieurey at Deauville over a mile. She needs to step up again but stretching out may help.

Chad Brown has won four of the last five runnings so his pair must not be ignored, although Prerequisite (20-1) took a step back last time after hitting the place in the 2023 G1 Belmont Oaks over ten furlongs, when Papilio was a neck behind in third, Mission Of Joy (20-1) another two lengths away seventh, and the inconsistent Be Your Best (20-1) last of nine.

Prerequisite could get her own way on the lead but still needs to stage a recovery, as does barnmate Liguria (15-1), off the board twice since winning a mile stakes at Belmont Park in June.

2023 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Odds

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Mission of JoyJohn R. Velazquez+2000
Elusive Princess (FR)Flavien Prat+300
SafeenCristian A. Torres+3000
Mawj (IRE)Oisin Murphy+200
Be Your Best (IRE)Ricardo Santana, Jr.+2000
Lindy (FR)Tyler Gaffalione+600
Sounds of Heaven (GB)Shane Foley+800
Elounda Queen (IRE)Luis Saez+1000
Heavenly SundayFlorent Geroux+3000
LiguriaJoel Rosario+1500
PrerequisiteIrad Ortiz, Jr.+2000
Papilio (IRE)Javier Castellano+1000

Rain would gift it to Elusive Princess, but otherwise the extra yardage and solid G1 form points to SOUNDS OF HEAVEN, who stacks up as an overlay.

Check out the 2023 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Recap

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