MUSICAL composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine have already hit the highest notes of all at York – their equine superstar The Fugue began her Grade One globetrotting career when winning the Musidora Stakes on Knavesmire four years ago.
Now they hope the musically-named So Mi Dar can strike a similar chord when she lines up in tomorrow’s Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, the day one highlight of the 2016 Dante festival and one of the last significant trials for the Epsom Oaks on June 3.
Unbeaten from two starts, So Mi Dar is a beautifully bred filly. She is the daughter of the Lloyd Webber’s Dar Re Mi, winner of the 2010 Dubai Sheema Classic, and sired by the great stallion Dubawai, a former winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Yet, with the 2016 Flat campaign more andante than allegretto in musical terminology, the form of the John Gosden-trained filly is pitch perfect. She won at Windsor before landing last month’s Investec Derby Trial at Epsom when she beat colts of the calibre of Richard Hannon’s Humphrey Bogart who franked the form when winning an informative renewal of Lingfield’s own Derby trial last Saturday.
With a rejuvenated Frankie Dettori in the saddle following a career-defining 2015 aboard horse of the year Golden Horn, it will be disappointing if the Italian is not in perfect harmony with So Mi Dar.
Yorkshire hopes are represented by Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s Fireglow who outran her odds in the recent 1000 Guineas at Newmarket – she was the best of the rest after Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien saddled the first three past the post.
O’Brien runs the ambitiously-named Best In The World, a Listed winner last year, but only fourth on her return in the Salsabil Stakes at Navan.
Saeed bin Suroor is represented by Promising Run, winner of the Rockfel Stakes last term, while Australian Queen represents David Elsworth, who caused one of the shocks of the season last year when Arabian Queen – a half-brother to his Musidora runner – defeated the aforementioned Golden Horn in York’s Juddmonte International.
As for the Lloyd Webber-owned and Gosden-trained The Fugue, she is now at stud after a roller-coaster career that saw her win the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes in 2013 before landing the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot the following year.
A horse that established the career of William Buick, who now rides for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation and therefore rides Fireglow in tomorrow’s big race, The Fugue was also incredibly unlucky in a string of big races.
A badly hampered third in the 2012 Epsom Oaks, she was narrowly beaten on two occasions at America’s Breeders’ Cup meeting.
Meanwhile Twilight Son heads a 12-strong field for tomorrow’s Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, the main sprint of the week.
Henry Candy’s sprinter won his first five starts, including the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock, before chasing home Muhaarar on Champions Day at Ascot and must concede 5lb to each of his rival.
The Charlie Hills-trained Magical Memory was just three-quarters of a length behind Twilight Son in the Sprint Cup and has the benefit of match practice, having made a successful return in last month’s Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.
Michael Appleby’s Danzeno has long threatened to win a major prize, while Mattmu is a major contender for Great Habton trainer Tim Easterby after a fine run to finish third in the Abernant.
The Yorkshire contingent is completed by David O’Meara’s Suedois, Kevin Ryan’s Goken and Richard Fahey’s Eastern Impact.