TRAINER Ralph Beckett is hopeful top-class filly Secret Gesture can finally enjoy her day in the sun as she aims to secure a first victory at Pattern level in today’s Skybet York Stakes.
Since finding only stable companion Talent too strong in last year’s Epsom Oaks at Epsom, Secret Gesture has been placed in the German Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks at Group One level.
She made an encouraging return to action when runner-up behind Ambivalent in the Middleton Stakes over this weekend’s course and distance and having gained a confidence-boosting win in lesser company at Nottingham last month, she steps back up in class for York’s Group Two feature where Jamie Spencer will be in the saddle.
Beckett said: “Secret Gesture is in good shape and the trip, track and ground should all suit. Saturday’s race is a Group Two and she has been getting beaten up at Group One level all of her life. There’s no Farraaj (John Smith’s Cup winner) in there and, although it’s full of nice horses, they are Group Two horses. I’m looking forward to running.”
In two previous visits to the Knavesmire the Luca Cumani-trained Danadana has posted an impressive victory and a narrow defeat.
The five-year-old was last seen finishing third in Chester’s Huxley Stakes in testing conditions and the form has been well advertised since by both the winner Noble Mission and the runner-up Telescope.
Godolphin launch a formidable three-pronged attack on the mile-and-a-quarter contest, with Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo Windhoek and Sharestan joined by Charlie Appleby’s Long John.
A season-ending injury means ante-post favourite Pique Sous misses next month’s Betfred Ebor. Trained by Willie Mullins to win the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot, this dual-purpose horse had been due to reappear in next week’s Galway Hurdle.
The Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival concludes at Pontefract tomorrow when Paul Hanagan, the former champion jockey, teams up with Godolphin to partner Wahgah in the feature Graham Rock Memorial Handicap which chonours the memory of the former racing journalist and broadcaster.