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Weatherbys ePassport Cheshire Oaks

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The Listed Weatherbys ePassport Cheshire Oaks (for the Robert Sangster Memorial Cup) has been used as a stepping stone to further big-race success for a remarkably high number of fillies in recent seasons.

The 2015 winner was Diamondsandrubies, a daughter of Fastnet Rock and Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Quarter Moon who went on to land the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, while in the following year another Fastnet Rock filly, Somehow, was on the scoreboard. The ill-fated filly, out of Anglo-Irish Oaks victress Alexandrova, would take the Dahlia Stakes and run second in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at four.

The Cheshire Oaks of 2017 went to one of the greatest racemares of recent times, Enable. The daughter of Nathaniel used the race as a springboard to winning 11 Group 1s including the Oaks at Epsom and the Curragh, three renewals of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and back-to-back runnings of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The 2018 winner Magic Wand, a Galileo half-sister to Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita, went on to win the Ribblesdale Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes and finished second in another eight top-level contests, while the 2019 scorer Mehdaayih, by Frankel out of a daughter of 1,000 Guineas winner Sayyedati, won the Prix de Malleret and ran second in the Nassau Stakes.

And let’s not forget Forever Together, the daughter of Galileo who finished second to Magic Wand three years ago and went on to win the Oaks at Epsom.

So, could this year’s Cheshire Oaks, run at Chester on the opening day of the May meeting on Wednesday, contain another future star? The pedigrees of the seven declared runners certainly suggest there could be.

For starters, two are out of Group 1 winners. Darlectable You, trained by John and Thady Gosden for Lord Lloyd-Webber and runner-up on each of her two starts, is by Dubawi out of Dubai Sheema Classic heroine Dar Re Mi. That makes her a full-sister to dual champion Too Darn Hot, St Leger runner-up Lah Ti Dar and Musidora Stakes scorer So Mi Dar.

Leopardstown maiden winner and Flame Of Tara Stakes fifth Nicest, meanwhile, is by US Triple Crown laureate American Pharoah out of the aforementioned Chicquita. The Donnacha O’Brien-trained filly is thus closely related to previous Cheshire Oaks winner Magic Wand.

Another of this year’s runners is a sibling to a Classic winner. Listed-placed La Joconde, trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore-Westerberg partnership, is by Frankel out of the winning Cape Cross mare Wadyhatta, making her a half-sister to last year’s Irish Derby hero Santiago.
Perennial champion sire Galileo has just the one representative in this year’s Cheshire Oaks: Fozzy Stack’s Group 3-placed filly Ahandfulofsummers, who is co-owned by Cayton Park Stud and Coolmore. She is out of Scream Blue Murder, a Group 3-winning sprinter by Oratorio. 

Dubai Fountain, a close second in the May Hill Stakes and fourth in the Fillies’ Mile last term, is by Galileo’s high-achieving sire son Teofilo. Trained by Mark Johnston for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, she is out of Nafura, a dual-winning Dubawi half-sister to Godolphin Group 1 winners Dubai Destination and Librettist.

Quenelle D’Or, an impressive Kempton maiden winner last month for trainer Hugo Palmer and owners Lady Derby and Lady Ritblat, is a daughter of the outstanding Derby and Arc winner Golden Horn. She is out of the winning Nayef mare Quenelle and her granddam is a half-sister to Lord Derby’s wonderful racemare Ouija Board.

Victory for the likely Cheshire Oaks favourite, the unbeaten Montrose Fillies’ Stakes winner Zeyaadah, would be poignant as she carries the silks of the late Hamdan Al Maktoum. The Roger Varian-trained filly is by Tamayuz out of an Act One half-sister to Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Suez, the dam of Fillies’ Mile winner Lyric Of Light.

Any one of those seven fillies would be worthy additions to this prestigious race’s roll of honour, which includes not only Enable, Diamondsandrubies and Magic Wand but also Classic winners Light Shift, Bolas, Swiftfoot, Shoot A Line, Dibidale and Lupe.

 
For further information please contact Nick Craven, Communications Director: +44(0)7850 025835 / [email protected].