York is on radar for Sea Of Class

Sea Of Class was imperious when winning the Yorkshire Oaks last year under James Doyle for trainer William Haggas (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire).
Sea Of Class was imperious when winning the Yorkshire Oaks last year under James Doyle for trainer William Haggas (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire).
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YORK could be the starting point for Sea Of Class when the William Haggas-trained filly begins her 2019 campaign.

She won last season’s Irish and Yorkshire Oaks before just failing to catch Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Both fillies have their sets sight on Paris Longchamp in October where the Frankie Dettori-ridden and John Gosden-trained Enable will attempt to win a third successive Arc.

“I think every race she ran in last year she improved on the previous race, and her defeat in the Arc was probably her best run,” said Yorkshire-born Haggas as he previewed the new Flat season.

“Her run in the Irish Oaks was a terrific ride by James (Doyle) as much as a great run,

“That was her first season racing and she has only had six runs. Hopefully this year she won’t deteriorate. She certainly looks stronger and her movement is good and everything seems to be on schedule.

“I don’t think she was winning races last year because she outstayed them, it was because she was quicker than them. I think she is pretty versatile as regards to her trip.

“There are two races in May for her, the Middleton at York or Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. She has won over a mile and a quarter already and she has got plenty of speed.

“Everything will be geared towards Paris, but we have a few mountains to climb before that. In an ideal world I would like to run her in the Middleton and then the Prince of Wales’ at Royal Ascot.”

Meanwhile the feats of Lady Buttons, one of this season’s leading National Hunt mares, is due to be showcased at Cheltenham next week.

Owned and bred by Jayne and Keith Sivills, and trained at Catterick by Phil Kirby, she will be the centrepiece of a presentation by the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association on Thursday.

Lady Buttons won four high-profile races this season before finishing fourth in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. She then proved her versatlity with a fine second in last week’s Red Rum Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

Connections are due to decide this weekend whether she lines up in Mares’ Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival later this month.

Aintree specialist Highland Lodge has been retired by Cartmel trainer Jimmy Moffatt after the 13-year-old veteran was unplaced in last week’s Topham Chase over one circuit of the Grand National course.

The horse provided Middleham-based Brooke with the biggest win of his career when landing the 2015 Becher Chase at the Merseyside track.

Highland Lodge’s agonising second in the 2016 renewal when caught on the line by Vieux Lion Rouge was one of the rider’s first races back in the saddle since suffering life-threatening injuries in a fall at Hexham.

Brooke credited Highland Lodge with inspiring his recovery, but while the horse excelled at Aintree he was decidedly average at other tracks.

“We felt now was the right time to call it a day,” said Moffatt.

Maries Diamond will aim to book a ticket for one of four possible 2000 Guineas assignments if he performs well in the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte.

Trained in Middleham by Mark Johnston, the colt has the option of the English, Irish, French or German Classics, but first needs to prove his form and fitness in France today.