Laughing Lashes to plunder York prize
Banimpire, Wonder Of Wonders and Laughing Lashes form a strong Irish challenge in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, the feature event on day two of York's Ebor Festival.
Second, third and fourth respectively in the domestic equivalent at The Curragh, the trio will again encounter Blue Bunting, a last-gasp winner under Frankie Dettori then.
While Blue Bunting has assumed favouritism for today's Group One following Snow Fairy's defection yesterday, it would be unwise to assume that The Curragh form will be exactly replicated here.
Jim Bolger's Banimpire simply didn't get a chance to respond to Blue Bunting's late swoop when going down by a head, but subsequently secured the Royal Whip Stakes earlier this month.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Wonder Of Wonders might be happier on marginally drier underfoot conditions now, while Laughing Lashes' rider Fran Berry had the misfortune to drop his whip in the heat of battle at The Curragh.
Given that Jessica Harrington's grey, available at up to 9/1 here, appeared to be mounting a telling challenge just prior to Berry's misdemeanour, she may be the one to keep onside.
Second to Misty For Me in last year's Moyglare Stakes, she ran no race at all in the 1,000 Guineas on her reappearance but left that behind when a fair third to Misty For Me in the Irish version.
Laughing Lashes then followed that with her eye-catching effort on her first try at today's mile-and-a-half trip in the Oaks, so it is entirely possible that she could progress to win now.
That said, it should also be remembered that Blue Bunting has plundered two Classics, the first being the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, in similar fashion, and her tendency to land a killer blow means she will always be dangerous.
The Listed race that follows is difficult to decipher. Aidan O'Brien saddles Spin and Amazing Beauty, while the home challenge numbers Henry Cecil's unexposed Wild Coco and the queen's improving handicapper Set To Music.
Both could be formidable rivals, but a chance is taken on Spin under Wayne Lordan. Having stumbled from the stalls in a Group Three at Cork a fortnight ago, the Galileo filly then got hampered when challenging inside the distance, and looked unlucky.
Lordan, whose finest hour came on Sole Power in the Nunthorpe 12 months ago, has two other serious chances. He partners Fire Lily in the Lowther Stakes, when David Wachman's filly meets her Ascot conqueror Best Terms on three-pound better terms.
Fire Lily should pose a more live threat over six furlongs than when a length and three quarters behind over five at the royal meeting.
On her first try at the trip in the Anglesey Stakes at The Curragh last time, she ran out an authoritative winner. After, which is again among the opposition here, was well held in second that day.
In the opener, Lordan's mount is the once-raced Hestian. This 20-runner juvenile race is wide open, but Tommy Stack's Kodiac colt was a good winner at Naas, and may have as good a chance as any.
2.0 Hestian 2.30 Fire Lily 3.05 Smarty Socks 3.40 Laughing Lashes 4.15 Spin 4.50 Alazan