Emily Upjohn tests Classic credentials in Musidora prize

Emily Upjohn puts her unbeaten record and tall reputation on the line in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday.

A narrow winner on her racecourse debut at Wolverhampton in November, the daughter of Sea The Stars made a spectacular return to action at Sandown last month to leave jockey Frankie Dettori purring.

He said afterwards: “I rode her the other morning and I thought, ‘wow’! Not many horses take my breath away and you like to see them do it in the afternoon.”

That nine-and-a-half-length victory saw Emily Upjohn shoot to towards the top of the market for next month’s Cazoo Oaks and she will be a warm order to cement her Epsom claims with victory in a race trainer John Gosden has already won on six occasions.

Gosden, who now trains in partnership with his son Thady, said: “She is a big, rangy filly. She’s won her maiden and novice and done it nicely. But now she’s moving up to a completely different grade, taking on other smart winners.

“We’ll learn an awful lot more about her. She’s one of those fillies who will get better with age because she certainly has the scope and frame to do it.”

The biggest threat to Emily Upjohn appears to be the Charlie Appleby-trained Life Of Dreams, who justified cramped odds with an impressive display on her first start at Newbury three weeks ago.

Life Of Dreams after winning at Newbury
Life Of Dreams after winning at Newbury (Neil Morrice/PA)

“We were pleased with Life Of Dreams on her debut at Newbury, when she won comfortably,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“You would expect some progression from her first to second start, which will hopefully make her competitive at this level.”

Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore team up with The Algarve, who makes her first appearance since opening her account at the third attempt at Galway in the autumn.

Moore told Betfair: “I haven’t ridden her in a race yet but she signed off last season with a comprehensive, improved win in deep ground at Galway in October, so that progressive profile at two augurs well.

“She comes from a very good family that includes the likes of her brother Van Gogh, as well as Horatio Nelson to name another high-level performer from a long list of other talented siblings.

“She clearly has to take a significant step forward to trouble the form horses here – Emily Upjohn was particularly impressive at Sandown, and Life Of Dreams was good at Newbury, both races that I rode in – but we are here to find out if she can. Emily Upjohn looks the one to beat.”

David Simcock saddles Newbury scorer Ching Shih, a daughter of Madame Chiang, who won the Musidora Stakes in 2014 for the same connections.

Simcock said: “Her mother won the Musidora and went on to win a Group One that year. Is Ching Shih similar? Probably the biggest similarity is she’s going to be better when she gets softer ground.

“She is a relentless galloper. She doesn’t look anything like her mother but she will probably be campaigned down a similar line.

“She’s ready for a run. We don’t quite know where we are with her. It’s a tight field, a lovely race to go for and we’re looking forward to running her.”

Ralph Beckett’s Luna Dorada, who won on her racecourse introduction at York in October, completes the five-strong field.

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