HAVING seen Sir Michael Stoute arrive at York on Wednesday, the 10-times champion trainer strolled onto the Knavesmire with a spring in his step, but one suspects he felt frustrated by the end of the week with his four runners finishing with form figures: 3336.
The head of Freemason Lodge may have lost out last week, but the quartet remain interesting prospects for the future.
Real Dream finished strongly in the opening Jorvik Handicap and ought to relish another two furlongs and could have a major say if returning to Yorkshire for the Sky Bet Ebor in a few months’ time.
Infinite Cosmos couldn’t match the finishing kick of Soul Sister in the Musidora and is crying out for further.
The Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot looks tailormade for the Sea The Stars filly, while Stormy Sea was unable to reward sustained market support in the Michael Seely Memorial Fillies Stakes.
An impressive winner at Haydock on her previous outing, the Territories filly may have found conditions too quick by the final afternoon – her half-brother Bay Bridge got jarred up on fast ground last summer before putting things right in the autumn.
Then, to cap an exasperating week, Passenger crossed the line with plenty more to give in the Dante Stakes after his rider was unable to find a trouble-free passage.
Supplemented for the Group 2 contest, the Wood Ditton Stakes winner was repeatedly denied a clear run before running on to dead-heat for third.
The Niarchos-owned colt ran the final furlong in 11.93 secs, compared to the winner The Foxes in 11.98. Beaten a length and a half, his connections now face the decision over whether to supplement Passenger for Epsom or wait for Royal Ascot.
His sire Ulysses ran in the Derby on only his fourth start and was beaten out of sight behind Harzand, but Stoute’s Workforce was runner-up in the Dante before winning the Derby 23 days later on his third outing in 2010.
ONLY two and a quarter-lengths covered the first five home in the Dante Stakes on Thursday with the race lacking the wow factor which had accompanied the victories of Authorized, Golden Horn and Desert Crown.
A Group 2-winning two-year-old, The Foxes appreciated the step up in distance having shaped encouragingly over a mile on his first run of the season at Newmarket and produced a solid performance.
His half-brother Bangkok only beat one rival in the 2019 Epsom Derby but Andrew Balding believes this son of Churchill has more scope and possesses a bombproof temperament.
The Kingsclere team sent out Khalifa Set (50/1) and Hoo Ya Mal (150/1) to finish runner-up at Epsom in 2020 and 2022 respectively. White Birch only has a neck to find with the Balding-trained winner and gives the impression he will relish an extra quarter of a mile.
Having covered the final furlong in 11.84 seconds, the Irish-trained runner was finishing better than anything and looks in the mould of another grey, the 1997 Epsom Derby runner-up Silver Patriarch.
A short-head behind Benny The Dip, John Dunlop’s charge gained ample compensation in the St Leger three months later. John Murphy’s colt might do likewise.
MEMORIES of Emily Upjohn came flooding back on the Knavesmire with Soul Sister replicating her stablemate’s performance in the Musidora Stakes from 12 months earlier.
While the winning margin didn’t stretch to five and a half lengths, it was four lengths back to the second this time around with the Frankel filly covering the last three furlongs in 33.21 seconds.
Successful on her only start as a juvenile in a mile maiden at Doncaster last autumn (which also unearthed Izzi Top (second in 2010), Speedy Boarding (third in 2014), Star Of Seville (won it in 2014) and Wonderful Tonight (third in 2019), she was all at sea over seven furlongs in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on her return.
However, this half-sister to a dual mile-and-six-furlong winner, showed her true worth over 10 furlongs here beating the 113-rated and Group 1 runner-up Novakai in decisive fashion.
John Gosden has won seven of the last 13 runnings of that Group 3, although only Star Of Seville (won the Prix de Diane in 2015) followed up in a classic.
Emily Upjohn was desperately unlucky not to land the Oaks last season when denied by Tuesday, but this Lady Bamford-owned filly could redress the balance.
Queen For You to emulate her dam?
THE impeccably-bred Queen For You failed by a short-head to preserve her unbeaten record in the Listed Michael Seely Memorial Fillies’ Stakes at York but remains a filly of tremendous potential.
The Normandie Stud-owned filly had beaten three previous winners on her debut at Ascot 16 days earlier and was immediately steered down the pattern route.
Given a patient ride having been slow to break, the daughter of Kingman was the last off the bridle and only went down narrowly behind the more experienced Sounds Of Heaven with the equally promising Silver Lady a neck away in third. Entered in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, her dam Fallen For You won that prestigious event 11 years ago.
The Gosden team ran Grande Dame with an identical profile in the 2022 renewal and she came up short before being Group 1-placed later in the campaign.
Sir Michael Stoute plunged Jubiloso, who was also unraced at two, into the mile contest on the back of just two outings and was rewarded with third place.
I would argue Queen For You is more talented than that pair and she won’t look out of place in such an event.
WITH the mid-season classics fast approaching and Royal Ascot just around the corner, the John and Thady Gosden-trained three-year-old team has a very different look to it compared to a month ago.
With a cold spring and prevailing soft ground, the Clarehaven outfit endured a difficult period during the middle of April with their runners at Newmarket’s Craven meeting and the two-day fixture at Newbury producing form figures of 13,7,1,7,10,13,9,2,5,9,7,9,15,16,12,11,6,3 and 3 – Convey being their only success.
In contrast, with the temperatures finally rising and the ground drying out, the stable have resumed normal service with their runners at last week’s York Dante Festival (Good to Firm) producing form figures of 115221.
Two of those winners included impressive scorers Soul Sister and Mostabshir who had finished 12th of 12 and 5th of seven in the Fred Darling and Craven Stakes respectively on their reappearances.
The former champion trainer approaches the pending classics with firepower which includes Arrest, Running Lion and Soul Sister.
Gosden runners who disappointed on their return to action during April and are now tackling much faster conditions – the trio of Intinso (7th of nine), Quantum Cat (9th of 10) and Shiva Shakti (15th of 16) produced performances which were too bad to be true and could be different propositions next time