/ Racing

Albasharah has Lancashire Oaks assignment

Updated: Friday, 05 Jul 2013 21:57 | Comments

Midnight Soprano is the sole Irish representative at Haydock
Midnight Soprano is the sole Irish representative at Haydock

Saeed bin Suroor is hoping Albasharah can gain compensation for a luckless run at Royal Ascot as she aims to get back on the winning trail in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday.

Unraced as a juvenile but impressive on her two starts as a three-year-old at Nottingham and Kempton, the Godolphin filly kept her unbeaten record intact with an eight-length romp at Doncaster on her seasonal reappearance.

After a 16lb hike in the weights, Albasharah headed for Royal Ascot's Wolferton Handicap and flashed home to finish fifth having encountered serious traffic problems in the straight.

She steps up from 10 furlongs to a mile and a half on Merseyside this weekend, but her trainer does not expect stamina to be an issue.

"She is a nice filly who I have always liked since she arrived," said bin Suroor.

"She was very unlucky at Royal Ascot, but ran very well and came back sound.

"She seems happy and fresh. She is running over a mile and a half for the first time, but if she relaxes during the race, I think she will have a very good chance of staying the distance.

"Hopefully, she will run a big race."

The sole Irish challenger in the eight-runner field is Paul Deegan's ultra-consistent mare Midnight Soprano.

A five-time winner last season, the six-year-old raised her game another notch when winning the Group Three Noblesse Stakes at Cork on her return to action in the middle of last month.

Deegan is anticipating further improvement from his charge, but does have concerns about the prospect of drying conditions for a mare who is proven in the mud.

Deegan said: "She's travelled over and everything is good, so we're looking forward to it. I'm just hoping the ground doesn't dry out too much.

"She seems in good form since her run at Cork and hopefully she's come on for it.

"She deserves a crack at a Group Two and if she's placed, it will be a bit more black type for her."

Summerdown handler Hughie Morrison is double-handed, saddling leading contender Banoffee and outsider Coquet.

An impressive display in the Cheshire Oaks encouraged connections to supplement Banoffee for the big one at Epsom at the end of May, but she was unable to land a blow in the mile-and-a-half Classic, coming home well beaten in seventh.

Morrison has given his star filly plenty of time to get over those exertions and is keeping his fingers crossed she can bounce back this weekend.

"She seems in good form. She's been fit since June and we've just been keeping her ticking over," said the trainer.

"We could have run in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, but she had a 24-hour blip. She'd only run in the Oaks two weeks before and very few fillies who run at Epsom come and do well at Ascot, so we didn't need much of an excuse not to run her.

"I wouldn't say I'm confident, but she seems happy in herself at home."

David Simcock's Moment In Time has improved almost 30lb this season on official ratings and struck over this weekend's course and distance in the Pinnacle Stakes a month ago.

The Newmarket handler feels quick ground has been a big factor in her progress and while he is hopeful of a big run on Saturday, he is wary of the threat posed by Albasharah.

Simcock said: "She loves fast ground, which she didn't get much last year and she has improved a lot physically.

"I'm always surprised by how much they improve, but we've always liked her and she's from a family who do improve with age.

"Hopefully she goes there with a chance, but I do think the Godolphin filly is a big danger. She should have won the Wolferton and looks a massive improver.

"The others look much of a muchness and there's a lot of soft ground form there, so we'll see what happens."

Having won the last two runnings of the Lancashire Oaks with Gertrude Bell and Great Heavens, John Gosden saddles both Gallipot and Wannabe Love as he goes in search of the hat-trick.

The field is completed by the Luca Cumani-trained Emirates Queen.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Live!
Powered by NewsWhip