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Snowfall dominates for Musidora victory

Snowfall led her rivals a merry dance to provide Aidan O’Brien with his first victory in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York.

The daughter of Japanese superstar Deep Impact managed just one win in seven outings as a juvenile last season, albeit her final two outings were at Group One level in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Fillies’ Mile.

She was a generous-looking 14-1 shot on her reappearance, with the market dominated by the impeccably-bred pair of Noon Star – a daughter of Derby winner Galileo and top-class racemare Midday – and Sea The Stars filly Teona.

However, Ryan Moore navigated Snowfall to the lead from an early stage – and having dictated affairs for much of the extended 10-furlong Group Three contest, she passed the post with three and three-quarter lengths in hand.

Noon Star filled the runner-up spot, with Teona doing well to finish as close as she did in third after pulling fiercely for her head for much of the race.

Bookmaker response was immediate, with Snowfall’s odds slashed for the Cazoo Oaks.

O’Brien said: “We always thought the world of her last year, but things just didn’t work for her.

“On pedigree she was always going to be suited by a step up in trip, (and) Ryan gave her a lovely ride.

“It’s a beautiful pedigree, and we always thought a race like that would suit.

“I would think the Oaks will be the plan, but we’ll all have a chat.

“Things just didn’t work out for her last season – hopefully she goes on and has a good year.”

Kevin Buckley, owners Coolmore’s UK representative, said: “Aidan has always thought a lot of her, and we were fairly hopeful with the step up in trip. Her pedigree suggested that would be to her liking, and those thoughts were vindicated.

“It’s the first time we’ve won the Musidora. We’ve hit the crossbar twice, with Together Forever (2015) and Twirl (2012).

“We were definitely thinking a mile and a half would suit. She’s out of a full-sister to Found by Deep Impact, so there’s everything there to suggest the distance of the Oaks won’t be a problem.

“She showed a really good attitude.”

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Noon Star’s owners Juddmonte, said: “Obviously the lack of pace was not ideal, to say the least – she’s a filly who does stay and will stay.

“We’ll get her back, make sure she’s ok, make sure Michael (trainer Sir Michael Stoute) and the family are happy – and then we’ll take it from there.

“I don’t think there’s any need for any precipitous decisions at the moment.

“These are trials. This is what they are there for – they are sent to try us.”

Teona’s trainer Roger Varian described himself as more frustrated than disappointed.

He said: “It was a messy race. Unfortunately she reared up in the gates, missed the break – and that meant after 50 yards you sort of knew how the race would be run.

“It’s slightly unsatisfying, but I’ve lost no faith in the filly – I think she’s very nice. Everything that could go wrong today did, but on a positive note she’s had a day out and will come on for the run. She’s been fresh all day today and hopefully she’ll be more professional next time.

“She’s got loads of talent, and I haven’t lost faith because the race was run at a crawl. If we’d broken better maybe we could have done something about it.

“It’s frustrating more than disappointing – judge her more next time. I’ll speak to the owner about the Oaks, but I wouldn’t be discouraged on what happened today. We live to fight another day.”

Noon Star and Teona clash in fascinating Musidora

Noon Star is among those looking to earn themselves a shot at Classic glory in the Cazoo Oaks in what promises to be an informative renewal of the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday.

Sir Michael Stoute’s filly is certainly bred for next month’s Epsom showpiece, being a daughter of the brilliant Derby hero Galileo and top-class racemare Midday, who was beaten a head by Sariska in the Oaks in 2009.

Noon Star, owned and bred by the late Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation, has won two of her three starts to date – most recently impressing on her three-year-old debut in a novice event at Wetherby two and a half weeks ago.

With that form having been boosted by the subsequent Lingfield success of the fourth home Sherbet Lemon, Stoute’s charge is a general 8-1 shot for the Oaks on June 4, but will face a thorough examination at York, with Oaks second-favourite Teona among her rivals.

Teddy Grimthorpe, Juddmonte’s racing manager, said: “If you breed Galileo to Midday, you’re expecting and hoping to end up at Epsom in early June. That would be the aim of anyone, but obviously she’s got to prove that she’s a worthy candidate.

“Midday won twice at York – she won the Middleton Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks. She was only narrowly beaten by Twice Over in the Juddmonte International.”

Noon Star is one of two Juddmonte-owned runners in an eight-strong field along with John and Thady Gosden’s Senita, who wears a hood for the first time after finishing a disappointing last of seven on her seasonal debut at Newbury.

“She’s a work in progress really. She didn’t put it together at all at Newbury and was a little bit awkward throughout,” Grimthorpe added.

“John has always had a good opinion of her and this is a fact-finding mission to see where we are with her, but she does have talent.

“This will give us a good idea of where we are with both fillies – this is what these trials are for really.

“Sometimes you get surprised and sometimes you get disappointed.”

Roger Varian saddles Teona in the Musidora Stakes
Roger Varian saddles Teona in the Musidora Stakes (John Walton/PA)

Roger Varian’s Teona makes her turf debut following two outings on the all-weather at Newcastle, finishing second on debut before bolting up by nine lengths on her second start in November.

Like Noon Star, Teona is also bred in the purple – being by Derby winner Sea The Stars out of Ambivalent, who won the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland and the Group Two Middleton Stakes at York for the same connections.

Varian said: “She looks a very nice filly at home and we’ve always held her in high regard.

“She’s taken a while to come to herself this spring and I should think the run will bring her forward. That said, her last few weeks of training have been very pleasing.

“She’s a big, rangy filly. I trained her mother, who also took a while to come to hand, and Teona was never going to be a summer two-year-old – she’s all about this year and beyond.

“We like her a lot – it’s well publicised I think, the regard which we hold her in.

“This is a nice starting point and a lovely place to start. If she doesn’t win it’s not the end of the world, but we’d expect her to run well.”

Mystery Angel steps back up to Pattern class after impressing in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket 10 days ago.

While the Nick Bradley Racing-owned filly is not currently entered in the Oaks, connections may consider supplementing should she come up trumps on the Knavesmire.

“She’s a filly who takes her racing very well and we’ll give it a good shot on Wednesday,” said trainer George Boughey.

“We’ll take it one step at a time. I’d say this is as good an Oaks trial as there is, on the pedigrees and the reputations of the two horses in front of us in the market (Noon Star and Teona).

“She would need to be supplemented for the Oaks, which costs the best part of £25,000. I think she would have to win at York to be considered for Epsom, I would say.

“She’s been a star for us and hopefully there’s more to come.”

Snowfall after winning at the Curragh
Snowfall after winning at the Curragh (PA)

The sole Irish challenger is Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore.

The jockey told Betfair: “This Deep Impact filly maybe didn’t quite progress as expected from her maiden win, though she faced some tough tasks in Group One company. This trip is more in keeping with her pedigree, and I expect her to improve for it.

“There is nothing in here boasting a scary level of form as it stands, though Noon Star is a very promising filly and one I like, and she is race-fit, as is the Newmarket winner Mystery Angel. And Newcastle winner Teona is already second-favourite for the Oaks, I see.”

Aura (Andrew Balding), Glenartney (Ed Walker) and Quiet Assassin (Adrian Keatley) are the other contenders.