Stellar Yorkshire Oaks in Store on the Knavesmire

Savethelastdance | Racingfotos.com


Day 2 of York's Ebor Festival plays host to a stellar edition of the G1 Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks and features a mouthwatering rematch between the G1 Irish Oaks first and second Savethelastdance (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Bluestocking (GB) (Camelot {GB}). The former's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, has annexed six editions since the turn of the century, but is still three shy of the record nine held jointly by Mathew Dawson and Sir Michael Stoute. Savethelastdance's three career wins, which include a 22-length romp in May's Listed Cheshire Oaks, have all played out with ease underfoot and drying conditions on the Knavesmire replicate the good-to-firm going she encountered when second in Epsom's G1 Oaks.

O'Brien, who is also represented by G2 Ribblesdale S. victrix and Irish Oaks fifth Warm Heart (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), considers pace, rather than going, key to a bold showing from the stable's star distaffer and commented, “I think York will suit her as it's a big, galloping track, and that's why York suits a very good horse. There's no messing there and the rhythm usually gets going early. She's a big, genuine filly who gets a mile-and-a-half very well. Ideally, she might have preferred a stronger pace at the Curragh as she gets into a big, rolling gallop. Ryan [Moore] didn't panic when the pace started to quicken and she started to get a little bit flat with him, so he gave her time to get into gear. He felt he won very well on her and it's a difficult thing for a jockey when everyone is going away from you. He gave her chance to go through the gears and he felt when she hit top gear that she would mow them down.”

Bluestocking, who was set fair for victory in Ireland only to be collared in the dying strides is displaying positive signs at home, according to trainer Ralph Beckett. “Bluestocking worked well on Friday and we are happy,” he said. “It's the right spot for her and, at her level, there aren't many alternatives. She's Group 1-placed and not eligible for [Thursday's Listed] Galtres.”

The Classic generation's contenders face an ominous threat from their elders, which includes George Strawbridge's Free Wind (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who has finished off the board in both starts since registering a fourth pattern-race victory in May's G2 Middleton S. over an extended 10 furlongs at this venue, and Shadwell's G1 Nassau S. heroine Al Husn (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), who has twice downed Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) this term for Roger Varian. The former seeks a fifth win in the contest for the Gosden stable, two of which were provided by Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}). Al Husn stretches out to 12 furlongs for the first time and it is very much a venture into the unknown according to racing manager Angus Gold. “She hasn't run over this trip before and nobody has ever said to me that they think she wants further,” he revealed. “She's so tough and it's obviously a lovely race. We wanted everything to be right and the question was always whether this would come too soon after the Nassau, but she did a bit of work last Thursday and everyone is happy with her. We are very lucky that she's got a Group 1 on the board already, so we don't have to chase one, and running here instead of in last Sunday's Prix Jean Romanet gives her an extra four days.”


Relief Rally Up In Trip For Lowther Test

An enticing undercard includes the G2 Sky Bet Lowther S., in which G2 Queen Mary S. runner-up and impressive Weatherbys Super Sprint winner Relief Rally (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) tackles six furlongs for the first time and encounters eight rivals. Denied by a nose at Royal Ascot in her penultimate start, she renews rivalry with Queen Mary third Beautiful Diamond (GB) (Twilight Son {GB}) and Queen Mary sixth Flora Of Bermuda (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). “She's a lovely filly and she'll run a good race,” insisted Relief Rally's trainer William Haggas. “She's very fast, she's very able and goes on any ground. She should get the trip and I think she'll enjoy the trip.” Opposition is deep and also includes Ballydoyle's impressive Curragh maiden winner Cherry Blossom (Ire) (No Nay Never) and Godolphin's 'TDN Rising Star' Star Of Mystery (GB) (Kodiac {GB}), who comes back off a runner-up finish in last month's G2 Duchess of Cambridge S. at Newmarket.


Super Friday In Store

Friday's card includes a trio of stakes races with G3 Molecomb S. and Listed Windsor Castle S. victor Big Evs (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) in receipt of 19 pounds and more from his elders in the G1 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe S. over five furlongs. The 16-runner dash is a who's-who of the sprinting ranks and includes last year's heroine Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), her G1 King's Stand S. conqueror Bradsell (GB) (Tasleet {GB}), G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee S. hero Khaadem (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint runner-up Dramatised (Ire) (Showcasing {GB}).

Big Evs also casts a shadow over the six-furlong G2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack S., which will witness the return of Ballydoyle's Windsor Castle runner-up Johannes Brahms (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}) and Molecomb third Kylian (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) in a field of 10.

Lady Blyth's Quickthorn (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) romped to a 14-length tally in last term's G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup and the Hugh Morrison trainee will be back for more in this year's seven-runner renewal returning off a six-length rout in this month's G1 Goodwood Cup.

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