Sunday 25 February 2018

Shama can throw Queen's hat into Oaks ring at York

Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Marcus Armytage

The victory of the Queen's Carlton House in the Dante at York's May meeting three years ago created a huge amount of pre-race publicity for the Investec Derby, racing's blue riband.

The Queen can give the Derby's sister Classic, the Oaks, a similar boost today by winning the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes with Shama.

Shama is the result of a breeding collusion with the Aga Khan.

Not so long ago, it would have been beyond comprehension for a potential Classic filly to not have raced on turf by the middle of May, but several Classic winners have started life on an artificial surface and it is now fairly common practice.

Shama has run twice, both times on the all-weather.

After a nice introduction at Kempton in November, she sluiced up in her maiden at Lingfield by four lengths at the start of April.

She may not have beaten much that day, but she did it in good style, she is bred to get the Oaks trip and, much like Michael Stoute's Snow Sky – which put himself into Derby contention by winning his trial at Lingfield on Saturday – she is almost bound to come on for that first start.

It is a big leap to go from her maiden to a Group Three against others with similar potential, including William Haggas' unbeaten Queen Of Ice and the Charlie Hills-trained Cambridge, which won her only start at two, a mile maiden at Nottingham.

Regardez and Lady Chiang both looked smart when winning as juveniles, while the highest-rated of the lot last year was the Philip Kirby-trained Lady Heidi, which will relish the soft ground.

Clever Cookie can get the meeting off to a good start for Yorkshire in the opener. Peter Niven's gelding was a smart bumper horse, is just a notch off top level over hurdles and made an impressive, if belated, start on the Flat at Newcastle in similar conditions last time.

Six runners have been declared for the Dante tomorrow, but the trainers of two, Saeed Bin Suroor and Peter Chapple-Hyam, say that the Derby second favourite True Story and Arod respectively will run only if the ground is good enough. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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