While Frankie Dettori expects Criquette Head-Maarek’s filly to bounce back from the first defeat of her career in her seasonal reappearance, Mukhadram and The Fugue will be formidable opponents.
Mukhadram, who is trained by Skipton-born William Haggas, was second in this race 12 months ago after a bold piece of frontrunning by Paul Hanagan.
It won the Sky Bet York Stakes before finishing a creditable second in the Dubai World Cup – the world’s richest race – in late March.
“He’s in really good shape,” said Haggas. “He worked at Newmarket recently and went really well and I hope he runs a good race.
“I think he’s in better shape now than he was last year. One thing he will do is give his all; he tries all day. He has a pacemaker this year, which will help. He’s running at Paul’s request which is good. I’m really looking forward to it.”
As for John Gosden’s Yorkshire Oaks heroine The Fugue, who is owned by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine, their horse of a lifetime has been desperately unlucky on her overseas travels and they have opted for this assignment ahead of Ireland’s Pretty Polly Stakes on June 29.
Unplaced at the Dubai World Cup meeting, Gosden said: “She’ll get her ground. She didn’t enjoy winter training ahead of Dubai and the race didn’t work out. She was struck into and it was a bit of a mess.”
Victorious yesterday with The Wow Signal, Malton trainer John Quinn has equally high hopes with Harry’s Dancer in today’s five furlong Queen Mary Stakes.
Nawton trainer David O’Meara’s That Is The Spirit puts his three-race unbeaten record on the line in the seven-furlong Jersey Stakes for three-year-olds – Richard Fahey’s Parbold is also in the field – while Prince of Johanne attempts to win a second Royal Hunt Cup in three years for Tadcaster’s Tom Tate.