'Seville' proves Musidora star as O'Brien comes off second best
The last winner of the Musidora Stakes to go on and land the Epsom Oaks was Sariska in 2009 and her owner-breeder, Lady Bamford, will bid to repeat the feat with another home-bred, Star Of Seville.
The John Gosden-trained filly beat Aidan O'Brien's Together Forever by a rather panicky head after idling badly in front but initially when Frankie Dettori, who had made the running at a good gallop, sent on Star Of Seville two out she had the Ballydoyle filly on the ropes.
There were pros and cons with regard to both for the Oaks. Together Forever, battle-hardened as a juvenile, was having her first start of the year and carrying a 4lb penalty for a Group One win, plus the further she went, the better she went.
And while it may have looked like the progressive Star Of Seville had come to the end of her tether at a mile and a quarter, she did wake up when Together Forever got to her, confirming Dettori's opinion that "all of a sudden she decided to wait for the others". The question not answered was how much she actually had up her sleeve.
There was no consensus among bookmakers other than they expect them to finish as close again next month without troubling favourite Legatissimo. Offers ranged as high as 10/1 for both fillies. Either way, it looks like Ryan Moore will now have the choice of three of the first four in the betting - Legatissimo, Together Forever and Dimondsandrubies.
Gosden seems to be amassing a smart team in order to recapture the British trainers' title. One of his major players could be Mahsoob, which is now unbeaten in three starts after overcoming an awful draw in the opener.
Paul Hanagan was able to toy with some decent handicappers and get up comfortably in the last strides to win by half-a-length.
"He was able to ride him with a great deal of confidence," said the trainer. "He only ran once as a three-year-old because he sustained a small injury to his hind cannon. He is push-button at home though and we see where we go from here."
His entries include the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Hardwicke at Ascot. "He's been drawn so wide on his last two starts that he's almost telling us he's ready to go further than a mile and a quarter," said Gosden, dropping a hint for the Hardwicke Stakes.