Prince Khalid Abdulla has assembled a strong team of middle distance three year old fillies this season. He is responsible for the likes of Enable, Shutter Speed, Icespire, Mori and also Natavia. The last named was a most emphatic winner of the ten furlongs Listed fillies' event at Newbury on Saturday. A promising second on her racecourse debut at the Craven meeting over a mile, the daughter of Nathaniel appreciated the step up in distance at the weekend and made no mistake under Ryan Moore. A three and three quarters of a length winner, she is improving fast and the Epsom Oaks looks a realistic target, although the same owner may elect to rely on Cheshire Oaks winner Enable. Roger Charlton suggested afterwards that Natavia's best trip at this stage may prove to be a mile and a quarter. Either way, she is a highly promising filly and one with a bright future. Ryan Moore rarely teams up with the Beckhampton handler but it is a potent combination when they do - rather like Time Test in the London Gold Cup on the corresponding card two years ago.
Despite only finishing third, I thought Crystal Ocean ran well in the Dante Stakes at York on Thursday. Beaten a length and a quarter by Permian, the son of Sea The Stars was taking a sharp step up in class but he kept on well in the latter stages and will be seen to better advantage over a mile and a half. One gets the impression his trainer Sir Michael Stoute is keen to skip Epsom and possibly prepare him for the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. His half-brother Hillstar won that Group 2 event four years ago. He looks a terrific long-term prospect who will only improve with experience.
It was a lean week to say the least for the Top 40 Prospects. I don't think either Crimean Tatar (too soft) or Saint Equiano (too fast) ran their races at either York or Hamilton respectively, while Midterm was very disappointing in the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. On the other hand, the Maidens In Waiting section continues to go from strength to strength with Tomyris (5/1) winning the Listed Michael Seely Memorial Stakes at York by three parts of a length. A maiden winner at the Craven meeting, she looked a smart filly disposing of On Her Toes on the Knavesmire on Friday. Effective on fast and slow ground, Roger Varian's filly may now take her chance in the Coronation Stakes at the Royal meeting next month. Star Rock (15/8) was a winner for the same section when taking a competitive twelve furlongs fillies' maiden at Newmarket on Saturday. An encouraging second on her reappearance at Newbury last month, she confirmed the promise with a half a length success from God Given. She has black type potential and I wouldn't be in a rush to give up on the third, Really Super. Now qualified for handicaps, she is more than capable of winning a maiden before going on to better things. Suited by ease in the ground, it won't be long before Ralph Beckett's charge sheds her maiden tag.
In terms of the Talking Trainers section of AOTF, David O'Meara's proved profitable to follow at York's Dante meeting with Al Qahwa (25/1), Fashion Queen (20/1) and Coolfitch (16/1) all scoring.
Finally, I hope Diary readers took the advice from the 29th April and stayed loyal to Sir Chauvelin (7/1) at Hamilton on Friday evening. Racing off a twelve pounds higher mark, Jim Goldie's gelding won the Braveheart Stakes for the second consecutive year.
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