Class to tell for The Fugue
Simon Holt previews Thursday's card at York and fancies The Fugue to bounce back to winning form in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
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THE FUGUE, beaten by smart French filly Shareta in last year's Darley Yorkshire Oaks, is fancied to go one better in Thursday's Group One renewal on the Knavesmire.
The daughter of Dansili, owned by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, looks clear best here provided she can bounce back after a disappointing run last time behind Al Kazeem in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown after which she scoped badly.
But The Fugue's previous running-on third behind Al Kazeem and Mukhadram in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot was an excellent effort and her win in last season's Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and third later on at the Breeders Cup also make her hard to oppose.
She just has to bring her 'A-Game' to this race.
The form of this year's Irish Oaks is strongly represented here by Venus De Milo (second), Scintillula (fourth) and Riposte (fifth) while Epsom Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture is also an interesting runner.
However, it was slightly disappointing that the last-named couldn't win the German version recently (and had quite a hard race) while Scintillula's last two defeats have hardly advertised the form at The Curragh.
All in all, this year's generation of three-year-olds have been below-standard but it's possible that Riposte might have run below-form as she had looked a fine prospect previously at Royal Ascot.
My conclusion is that this is a race for The Fugue to lose. If she runs poorly again, then it looks a very tight contest.
If the handicapper is correct, then LUCKY KRISTALE should be able to defy a penalty in the Connolly's Red Mills Lowther Stakes.
George Margarson's filly is now rated 107 after her win in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting and that form has been boosted since with runner-up Rizeena (previously successful in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot) running a fine third in last weekend's Prix Morny at Deauville and Princess Noor (fifth) and Queen Catrine (third) filling the first two places in the Princess Margaret Stakes (Wind Fire fifth).
What's more, Lucky Kristale appeared to have plenty in hand of her rivals that day and, on a line to Rizeena's Queen Mary win, has the beating of Alutiq, Kaiulani and Reroute.
The big danger is J Wonder whose wins in a maiden at Newbury and a nursery at Newmarket have also been well supported subsequently.
Although winning off a mark of just 79 last time, Brian Meehan's charge looked a Group horse in the making and the runner-up Midnite Angel has since finished second in a Group Three on the same course while third-placed Dancealot won a hot-looking nursery last weekend.
Several winners have also emerged from J Wonder's Newbury victory including third-placed Amazing Maria, a six-length scorer at Glorious Goodwood next time.
Getting 3lb from Lucky Kristale, J Wonder could well shake-up the likely favourite but I will trust in the handicapper's figures.