Despite only finishing third in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville, Coronet remains a leading contender for next month's Epsom Oaks. Surprisingly, the bookmakers eased John Gosden's filly out in their ante-post lists. The daughter of Dubawi was last turning for home and allowed the impressive winner Sobetsu first run. However, she finished strongly and will be a different proposition over an extra couple of furlongs. Her trainer also feels she will be better suited by drier ground.
It has been a frustrating few days for the Top 40 Prospects. It was good to see Mori get off the mark at the second time of asking in the ten furlongs fillies' maiden at Ascot on Friday evening. The beautifully bred daughter of Frankel stayed on powerfully to win going away and she, too, will be even better over a mile and a half. Stablemate Mirage Dancer ran a pleasing race in the Dee Stakes at Chester the same afternoon. His lack of experience was evident when the pace lifted and then he met trouble in running turning for home. The Derby is likely to come too soon in his career but I feel he will emerge as the best horse in Friday's Listed contest.
UAE Prince was disappointing at Ascot yesterday having been well positioned turning for home. Perhaps twelve furlongs stretches him and it will be interesting to see if Roger Varian drops him back to shorter distances having only finished fifth behind emphatic winner Desert Encounter. At least his handicap mark is unlikely to be affected.
I thought Bounce ran a cracker in the Listed fillies' event at Nottingham on Saturday. Absence since last July, Henry Candy's lightly raced daughter of Bahamian Bounty stayed on well to grab third place, gaining black type in the process. She is more than capable of winning something similar and one would expect her to improve for yesterday's outing. The four year old couldn't be in better hands.
William Haggas saw both Rivet and Sea of Grace placed in the French 2000 and 1000 Guineas respectively over the weekend. The pair ran terrific races in defeat. However, the head of Somerville Lodge claimed the Victoria Cup at Ascot, thanks to Fastnet Tempest. William was complimentary about the four year old on page 75 of Ahead On The Flat and he was given an excellent ride by Josephine Gordon. He could have even more to offer as the summer progresses.
The three day Dante Festival at York is one of my favourite Flat meetings of the year and there should be some superb action with the Top 40 well represented. I am working there on Friday but the plan is go on Thursday as well with the much anticipated clash between Cracksman and Crystal Ocean in the Dante Stakes the highlight. The Group 2 Middleton Stakes on the same day is another race to really look forward to. In the meantime, I am heading to Wetherby tomorrow for an eight race card on the level. With rain forecast, I am hoping Zodiakos in the 3.25 might pay for the diesel. Thrown in on his old form, he ran an encouraging first race for Roger Fell at Pontefract last month. I will be back to update the Diary later in the week.
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