Committed is quite a negative word. You commit a murder (minimum of 10 years), and it’s also used to describe being in a steady relationship (feels like a life sentence).
However, the Committed Stakes at Navan (14:40) is presumably named after the Dermot Weld-trained sprinter who won the Nunthorpe and the Prix de l’Abbaye in the 1980s, two wins on what is a much more positive ledger than my own, on which the highlights are: learnt to tie own shoelaces (1986), starred in school nativity (1988), and second in egg and spoon race (1989 & 2018).
This year’s race (Navan, not egg and spoon) doesn’t feature a Weld-trained runner, but it does include representatives from the yards that have won the race for the last two seasons.
Aidan O’Brien saddled Washington DC to win in 2016, and he has three fascinating contenders this time around in the form of Sioux Nation, Fleet Review and new recruit Different League.
The last-named won the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2017, and was also a good second to Clemmie in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. She was bought for 1,500,000 guineas in December and the market should help guide as to what is expected from her.
Fellow Royal Ascot winner Sioux Nation, who won the Norfolk there, is respected, though much like myself he’s the type to carry condition, and has also been lumbered with a penalty.
Instead, Timeform ratings suggest that Fleet Review might be the one; he was much improved when second in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket (half a length behind stablemate U S Navy Flag) on his final start last season and is the type to improve again this year.
This isn’t all about Ballydoyle runners, though, as last year’s winning trainer Jessica Harrington runs Brick By Brick, a horse who has twice run at the track and who improved again towards the end of last season, while Joseph O’Brien saddles Speak In Colours, a dual winner for Marco Botti when last seen.
The real Mary Tudor didn’t make herself too popular in Ireland back in the 16th century, but backers of the Godolphin filly may find themselves happy to momentarily forgive and forget if she improves for the step up in trip in the Salsabil Stakes at 16:15.
She’s bred to improve for the longer distance, and may prove a good value alternative to the likes of Bye Bye Baby and Baroness, who look likely to dominate the betting. It’s easy to see why both might be popular, however, given what they achieved last term, and Bye Bye Baby in particular is bred to relish the longer trip here.
Finally, Order of St George should be a warm order to win the Vintage Crop Stakes at 17:20. Admittedly, that was the case a year ago – when he was beaten as the 5/4-on favourite – but that could mean that the three-time Group 1 winner is not sent off at too short a price on Sunday.
Lord Yeats is the obvious one on Timeform ratings to chase him home, however, he’s yet to prove he stays this far, so the progressive handicapper Clongowes is considered the biggest danger.