THE Epsom Oaks is now on the agenda for Star Of Seville after the filly scrambled home to hand trainer John Gosden a fourth win in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York.
Having set out to make all under Frankie Dettori, the filly looked to have put the Oaks trial to bed before Aidan O’Brien’s Together Forever mounted a sustained challenge late on.
Although the winner’s stamina appeared to be suspect, Gosden and Dettori believe Star Of Seville was idling in front and that she will handle the additional two furlongs at Epsom on June 5.
“Frankie said she was just waiting in front. That was a Group One filly coming at her. Luckily, when she got there she started going again. It is a long time to be in front for an inexperienced filly,” said Gosden.
“She has gone from a maiden to a conditions race to winning a Group Three Musidora, so things are very positive. This is a nice filly, but she is still learning. She was a long time in front, but Ryan (Moore) is a master at timing his run to catch you late on.
“She had more up her sleeve if needed. We wanted an even pace, which is why we made the running. I don’t think Epsom will be a problem, as she is a well-balanced filly. The second is a Group One winner by Galileo and is no mug.”
It was particularly apt that the first Yorkshire-trained winner of the 2015 season on Knavesmire should come courtesy of Algar Lad who won the Infinity Tyres Stakes for Nawton’s David O’Meara, last year’s leading trainer at York.
Big sprints at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood could now become viable propositions for the five-year-old who travelled sweetly for jockey Sam James.
“We weren’t thinking about races like the Wokingham and the Stewards’ Cup before this, but now we might have to,” said O’Meara.
Meanwhile, Wetherby trainer Richard Guest’s Udododontu could also be Royal Ascot-bound after running out a convincing winner of the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap under the 2013 champion apprentice Jason Hart, one of the most under-rated members of the weighing room.
Guest said: “I told everybody he was a certainty (yesterday) and hopefully they were all on. He’ll get a mile and I hope he goes up enough for this to get in the Britannia at Ascot.
“He’ll need to be low 90s, and if he doesn’t I’ll run him again. He’s for sale, we only got him by default as he had his problems, but his sire (Lope De Vega) is carrying all before him.”
On a day of White Rose domination, the final two races went to Yorkshire yards courtesy of Kevin Ryan’s Areen, a welcome win for a rejuvenated Jamie Spencer, and Libran who took the finale for Richmond-based trainer Alan Swinbank and jockey Ben Curtis.
Madame Chiang and Lily Rules, who fought out last year’s Musidora Stakes, renew their rivalry in today’s Betfred Middleton Stakes – the main support race to the Dante.
After her course and distance success 12 months ago, Madame Chiang failed to figure in either the Oaks or the Prix Vermeille before bouncing back to form with a clear-cut success in the Fillies and Mares race at Ascot on Champions Day. Trainer David Simcock said: “She’s not 100 per cent wound up, but she’s in excellent order.”
As for Lily Rules, Malton trainer Tony Coyle hopes his filly can replicate the best of her 2014 form which went slightly downhill after York and a ninth place finish in the Oaks behind Taghrooda. “She’s in as good a order as we’ve ever had, make no mistake,” he said. “Last season she ran at Newcastle and it was far too fast for her and she seemed to call it a day after that.
“We gave her plenty of time off to recover and we’ve had her in training since January so she won’t come on for the run – she’ll be fit and ready.”