Give And Take to keep Haggas on top on opening day at York
William Haggas already has a colt, Young Rascal, for the Investec Derby and, by the end of today, he might have a filly for the Oaks in Give And Take, should she win the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes on the first day of York's Dante meeting.
Haggas, a native Yorkshireman, is leading the UK trainers' championship and, while it is very early days and, he contests, only a matter of time before he is "squished", it is not unreasonable to expect him to consolidate his current advantage this week.
Not only with Give And Take, a daughter of rising star of the young stallion scene Cityscape, but earlier on the card with Tasleet in the more valuable Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes and, looking farther ahead, with the improving Addeyeb in Saturday's Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
The Oaks often seems to play second fiddle to the Derby and it is unlikely today's Musidora winner will change that or bother ante-post favourite Lah Ti Dar.
Her trainer, John Gosden, runs Highgarden today, but I do not see any particularly good reason, except possibly the faster ground, why she should reverse Sandown form with Give And Take, which has, according to her trainer, improved for that run.
The rest of the field have similar profiles. Ceilidhs Dream, Dancing Brave Bear, Expensive Liaison and Lubinka have all won on their last start this season, while David Simcock's Frankel filly Ejtyah won her only start last year. She would have to be smart to win this first time out.
The biggest danger to Give And Take could be Lubinka, which has been bought into by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's Qatar Racing since she won over a mile and a half at Lingfield in April.
She was a close third to the smart Soliloquy at Ascot last year and far from disgraced when sixth in the Fillies' Mile.
If Tasleet is ever going to put one over Harry Angel, it will surely be today, when he receives 5lbs in the race he won last year, the Duke of York.
Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden, meanwhile, are doubly represented in the Dante Stakes tomorrow. O'Brien sends James Cook and Zabriskie across the Irish Sea in his bid to win this recognised Derby trial for a fifth time, but both horses need to improve after finishing down the field in the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last month.
Gosden appears to hold stronger claims, with his Epsom trial winner Crossed Baton joined by stablemate and likely favourite Roaring Lion, which steps up in distance after finishing fifth in the 2,000 Guineas.
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