Sometimes when reflecting on a high-profile racing festival, one is reminded of an eye-catching performance that possibly slipped somewhat under the radar.
A number of fillies and mares impressed during the four days at York. Queen Kindly took the Lowther Stakes, and looks a juvenile of the highest order. One of the first crop by the mighty Frankel, she defeated another of his progeny, the highly touted Fair Eva. Both are fillies full of potential, with the latter more stoutly bred, and more likely to make into a potential Guineas and Epsom Oaks contender. Queen Kindly’s dam; Lady Of The Desert, was undoubtedly at her best over the shorter trips, indeed she finished runner-up in both the Sprint Cup at Haydock and the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.
Whilst the juvenile fillies advertised the talents of a new stallion in Frankel, the victory of Seventh Heaven in the Yorkshire Oaks, chased home by Found, did plenty to trumpet the continuing success of the greatest stallion Galileo. Seventh Heaven has progressed into a formidable three-year-old, capable of galloping her opponents into submission. Found possibly needed the run more than her younger stable companion, and was of course giving the winner plenty of weight.
On the Friday of York’s Ebor meeting, Mecca’s Angel created all the headlines, when the mare rocketed to success in the Nunthorpe Stakes. I was not alone in believing that she would need more testing conditions to come out on top. However, Michael Dods’ heroine almost smashed the track record, with a truly dominant display. She’ll take some beating if continuing at this level for the remainder of the season. And the fact that she performed this well on a sounder surface allows Dods to target whichever sprint he and owner David Metcalfe fancy, whatever the prevailing ground conditions.
Despite the stunning performance of Mecca’s Angel, it was another filly that caught my attention on Friday, and continues to impress, especially with conditions in her favour.
Jeremy Noseda has a stunner on his hands with Nemoralia. It came as no surprise when she won the Group 3 City Of York Stakes, but the performance further enhanced her soaring reputation. She’s pure class, travels like a dream, and has a devastating turn of foot. The strong gallop suited her, and under hand-and-heels she was far too good for an admittedly ordinary looking field.
Jamie Spencer, speaking to Channel 4 Racing after the win had said: “She was really impressive, she wants a mile but Jeremy wanted to run her in a race she could win. She's a real firm ground filly, she's just been unfortunate with the weather this year.” After the smooth success, Noseda said: “She was in good form and she was as Group One filly dropping back into Group Three company. She had a hard race at Royal Ascot (second in Coronation Stakes) and ran a bit flat in France.”
That Ascot defeat to classy French filly Qemah, came on unsuitable ground, and of future targets Noseda added: “The Park Stakes at Doncaster will possibly be next and then we'll head to America and look at the Queen Elizabeth for three-year-old fillies on October 14 in Keeneland. We've got the choice of races at the Breeders' Cup. We'll keep moving forward now. It was nice to get her back winning.”
Those targets may not necessarily depend on the ground, but her performance certainly will. She’ll take all the beating on a quick surface. She’s by a leading American Stallion in More Than Ready, a sire known for his impact around the globe. He’s responsible for Grade 1 winners in seven countries, and is based at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. Whilst undoubtedly best known for his progeny in America and Australia, More Than Ready is making a belated impression in the UK.
Nemoralia may be the standout, but Charlie Appleby and Team Godolphin have a promising juvenile on their hands with Boynton. He took a while to get going last time in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, when a strong finishing third. He looked a little quirky, with his head held rather high at times. He’d previously won the Group 2 Superlative at Newmarket, when ‘toughing it out’ in the final furlong.
Mokarris is another juvenile that has shown a good level of form. He proved no match for Blue Point in the Gimcrack at York the other day, though was given a pretty gentle ride once the winner had flown. Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, this son of More Than Ready looks to be another that will improve as he steps up in trip. He travelled stylishly at York, and ought to be competitive at a very high level.
Age is no barrier to these prodigious stallions. Galileo at 18 remains the best in the business, and at 19, More Than Ready appears more popular than ever, especially in the UK. Nemoralia’s dazzling season is sure to elevate his status further, with wealthy owners taking the plunge in a bloodline likely to prove a prized asset.