I was very pleased with Frankellina's run in the Musidora Stakes on the opening day of York's Dante Festival on Wednesday. Withdrawn from the Lingfield Oaks Trial on Saturday due to soft ground, her trainer William Haggas said the daughter of Frankel would need the run on the Knavesmire. Therefore to be only beaten a neck by the racefit Nausha having missed the break and forfeit three or four lengths, too, it was a most encouraging performance. I contacted William the same evening and the Newmarket trainer said he was thrilled with her run because she blew hard after the race. Fingers crossed, she will head to Epsom at the end of the month for the Oaks, otherwise a trip to Royal Ascot for the Ribblesdale Stakes will be in the offing.
Another Top 40 entry Aljady ran a cracker, too, on Wednesday in the six furlongs handicap. Drawn on a wing in stall 22, Richard Fahey's four year old finished with real purpose to fill third position and looks capable of bagging a big prize this sumer. Gelded since last term, he remains lightly raced and open to further improvement.
Indeed, it was been a frustrating couple of days at York thus far for the 40 with Rawdaa producing a career best in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes on Thursday. Sir Michael Stoute's filly had run well on her reappearance over a mile at Kempton and was expected to appreciate the return to ten furlongs. That proved the case and Ryan Moore's mount looked set to win only to be worn down late on by the high-class Lah Ti Dar and was beaten a neck. The winner may not have been at her best over an inadequate trip (plus the ground was probably lively enough for her) but it was still a very good run by Rawdaa, who will hopefully win a Pattern race this summer.
Lah Ti Dar's younger brother and last year's outstanding juvenile Too Darn Hot lost his unbeaten record in the Group 2 Dante Stakes. Forced to miss the 2000 Guineas, John Gosden's colt was stepped up in trip here and he was ultimately outstayed by the progressive Telecaster. The winner, who is trained by Hughie Morrison, is by New Approach out of Shirocco Star (runner-up in the Oaks) and he didn't see a racecourse last year. Runner-up on his debut at Doncaster, he looked a smart colt when bolting up at Windsor next time. Thrown in at the deep end here, he proved more than good enough with a battling display. Sat close to a strong pace set by Turgenev, he ran on strongly when challenged by Lah Ti Dar. The winner is no doubt very good but I found it a difficult race to read with those towards the rear never getting involved. Aidan O'Brien's Japan was a big drifter beforehand and ran accordingly, Surfman kept on as though he will be suited by twelve furlongs, while Line of Duty looked anything but a previous Group 1 winner. One would expect Telecaster to head to Epsom for the Derby, while John Gosden announced Too Darn Hot will revert to a mile and contest the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
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