Wednesday 22 November 2017

My Titania can return Oxx to big time at Royal Ascot

Daughter of the peerless Sea The Stars can stamp her authority and secure Coronation Stakes glory

My Titania makes her seasonal return in today's Coronation Stakes. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
My Titania makes her seasonal return in today's Coronation Stakes. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Nearly five years after the peerless Sea The Stars departed the scene at the end of a scintillating three-year-old campaign, his daughter My Titania will strive to finally return John Oxx to the highest echelon at Royal Ascot.

Oxx simply hasn't had the material to go to war with on the big stage since masterminding Sea The Stars' flawless run in 2009, a mesmerising six-race sally that culminated in the Christopher Tsui-owned dual Classic hero's dramatic Prix de l'Arc Triomphe success under Mick Kinane at Longchamp. The loss of a large swathe of the Aga Khan's contingent last year was a further blow to a man widely recognised as one of the modern era's greatest trainers and most intuitive horsemen.

When My Titania – likewise owned and bred by Tsui and his family – burst on to the scene in the autumn of 2013, there was a palpable sense that Oxx might be on the verge of a welcome return to Flat racing's front rank. However, she missed the 1,000 Guineas due to a setback and deep ground then denied her the opportunity to contest the Irish equivalent.

She will thus tackle 11 heavyweight rivals in this afternoon's Coronation Stakes without the benefit of race fitness, a point that will surely be exacerbated on the lightning fast ground. That is obviously less than ideal, though it is worth remembering that Sea The Stars was also produced in mint condition by Oxx to land the 2,000 Guineas on his three-year-old bow.

Of course, there is no suggestion that My Titania possesses anything like her father's exalted level of ability, but, in emulating him by winning her second and third starts as a juvenile, she really impressed.

She readily dismissed Pattern quality fillies at Leopardstown in September, before slamming the Oaks runner-up Tarfasha by six lengths when taking a Curragh Group Three.

At Epsom, Tarfasha was thwarted by Taghrooda, which was a debut Classic winner for Sea The Stars from his first crop. Like his half-brother Galileo, then, he could yet develop into a serious stallion, so it is worth speculating that My Titania can do her part for his status in a mile Group One that first saw Oxx grace the royal roll of honour courtesy of Ridgewood Pearl's famous 1996 coup.

Tapestry, Aidan O'Brien's choicely-bred daughter of Galileo which finished second to Rizeena in last year's Moyglare Stud Stakes before flopping on her 1,000 Guineas return, is a live danger. Rizeena and the dual Guineas runner-up Lightning Thunder are others respected in an open contest, but the suspicion is that My Titania could stamp her authority all over this under Declan McDonogh.

The remainder of today's card lacks the same punch as the first three, but the Coolmore blue could get among the winners with Sexy Legs and Century. Sexy Legs tackles the Albany Stakes for the potent David Wachman and Wayne Lordan axis, having just been denied by Jeanne Girl in a Curragh maiden that also threw up Wednesday's stylish Queen Mary victor, Anthem Alexander.

If she improves, she would have as good a chance as any, with the American filly Sunset Glow possibly the main threat. Century is Ballydoyle's representative in the Queen's Vase that was won 12 months ago by Leading Light.

Joseph O'Brien's Montjeu mount got going too late when flashing home for fourth behind Kingfisher at Chester first time up, so this step up to two miles against a similar level of opponent is expected to give him a live chance of collecting.


2.30 Sexy Legs

3.05 Bold Sniper

3.45 Western Hymn

4.25 My Titania

5.0 Century

5.35 Watchable

Irish Independent

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