Day 2 of the Ebor Festival kicks off at 1.55pm with the Group 2 Lowther Stakes, a 9-runner contest over 6f, including some of the most promising 2yo fillies around.
On a line through Main Edition, Fairyland has a bit in hand of John Gosden’s ANGEL’S HIDEAWAY, but the latter named Dark Angel filly has gathered a bit more experience and intel on the scene since they met at Royal Ascot in June. She won the Group 3 Keeneland Stakes at Ascot last time out, a career best effort and probably the best single piece of form in this field. Aidan O’Brien’s filly is the more lightly raced and could be open to more improvement than Angel’s Hideaway, but the nod just goes to the Cheveley Park owned runner, who should take well to the Knavesmire and prove very difficult to beat.
The feature race on Thursday is the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks at 3.35pm, where a tidy field of eight horses are declared to post to contest the 1m4f race, in search of their share of the hefty £225,000 prize money.
The favourite is the William Haggas trained Sea Of Class, who was afforded a cracking ride from James Doyle to land the Irish Oaks last time out, defeating Epsom winner Forever Together, with the re-opposing Magic Wand back in 5th that day. Her rate of improvement and will to win is notable and she is a worthy market leader, but at around 11/8 Sea Of Class is short enough in the betting.
The superb Laurens is an exciting addition to the race, but may find herself exposed back over 12f, while Magic Wand is too unpredictable to place full trust in. So, CORONET gets the vote for the older generation, in the hope she can put together a season’s best effort for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. Last year, Coronet finished 5 lengths second to the outstanding Enable in this race and I’m not convinced there is a 3yo filly as good as that one in the field this year. She has to contend with a 9lb age penalty against her youngers a year on, but she’s coming to the boil nicely after a fair third in the King George and should be primed to go very well indeed.
Dermot Weld’s Eziyra has won her last three starts and Will Buick is an eye-catching jockey booking for the Aga Khan filly, but this is a big step up and without doubt her toughest assignment to date.
The rest look to be playing for minor prizes, but even the 6th horse home will get just shy of £5,000 for their efforts. The £198,485 first prize though, looks to be between the favourite Sea Of Class, Magic Wand and the older horse and indeed the selection, Coronet.
In the 4.15pm Listed race over 1m4f, a contest named after the late, great Sir Henry Cecil, all eyes will be on John Gosden’s LAH TI DAR, who bids to make it three from three in her exciting career thus far. A daughter of Dubawi out of Group 1 winning Dar Re Mi, this impeccably-bred 2yo is touted to go right to the top and a win here would certainly put her in the picture for Classic contention next season.
She dotted up by six lengths on her debut at Newbury, before improving second time out to win impressively at Newmarket, a performance which set the birds singing about how far up the ladder this filly could go. There are a few solid horses in the field to fully test Lah Ti Dar on Thursday, not least Sir Michael Stoute’s Sun Maiden, but this Lord Lloyd-Webber owned and bred filly looks to be a class apart.
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