News Weatherbys Bloodstock Pro Cheshire Oaks

Weatherbys Bloodstock Pro Cheshire Oaks


Lupe, Dibidale, Shoot A Line, Light Shift, Bolas; some of the very best fillies of the modern era have won the Listed Weatherbys Bloodstock Pro Cheshire Oaks since the race was inaugurated in 1950.

Five years ago the contest was used as a springboard to stardom by one of the greatest of all time, as Enable strolled to a decisive victory before going on to complete the Anglo-Irish Oaks double and win nine more Group 1 races, including two Arcs and three King Georges.

Enable sparked a fine spell of success for graduates of the Cheshire Oaks, which is run for the Robert Sangster Memorial Cup. 

Magic Wand and Forever Together, the winner and runner-up in 2018, both went on to score in Group 1 company, while Mehdaayih, Manuela De Vega and Fanny Logan, the first three home the following year, all went on to land Group races.

The race was not run in 2020, due to the Covid-19 crisis, but was back last year with the smart Dubai Fountain beating subsequent Hoppings Stakes winner and Nassau Stakes runner-up Zeyaadah into second, with future Irish Oaks third Nicest one place behind.

This year’s contest promises to be one of the highlights of the first day of the Chester May meeting once again, with ten beautifully bred fillies declared.

Aidan O’Brien could match Barry Hills’ record of training seven winners with a filly who is aptly named for an Oaks aspirant, in Thoughts Of June. 

The maiden daughter of her co-owner Coolmore’s late, great multiple champion sire Galileo – the source of two previous Cheshire Oaks winners in Perfect Truth and Magic Wand – was bred by her other co-owner Moyglare Stud Farm out of Del Mar Oaks heroine Discreet Marq, a daughter of Discreet Cat bought by the operation for a cool $2.4 million.

Three of the last four Cheshire Oaks winners, Dubai Fountain, Mehdaayih and Enable, have been by stallion sons of Galileo – Teofilo, Frankel and Nathaniel respectively. The only runner in this year’s contest who falls into that category is the dual winner Typewriter, by Gleneagles.

The Andrew Balding-trained filly is out of On Location, a winning daughter of Street Cry and Grade 1 winner Film Maker, and was a bargain 26,000gns Tattersalls October Book 2 yearling purchase by Sackville Donald on behalf of owner Fitri Hay.

Galileo also features as damsire of two of this year’s Cheshire Oaks runners, in the last-time-out winners Above The Curve and Makinmedoit.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained Above The Curve is by US Triple Crown hero American Pharoah out of Fabulous, a half-sister to ‘iron horse’ Giant’s Causeway. That makes her a full-sister to Group 3-placed Thinking Of You.

Makinmedoit, trained by Harry Eustace for Robert Levitt and Anthony Bromley, is by Derby and Arc victor Golden Horn out of Tranquil Star, a winning daughter of dual New Zealand Group 1 winner We Can Say It Now. Bred by Rabbah Bloodstock, she was bought by Highflyer Bloodstock for just 10,000gns at last year’s Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale.

Golden Horn has two darts to throw at this year’s Cheshire Oaks, with Makinmedoit joined by paternal half-sister Hello Jumeirah. The unbeaten William Haggas-trained filly is out of Zubeida, an Authorized half-sister to Fillies’ Mile winner Teggiano. 

Another sire double handed in the contest is the brilliant miler and proven Group 1 sire Kingman, through Morning Poem and Night Battle. 

Morning Poem, trained by John and Thady Gosden for owner and breeder Rebecca Phillips, should receive a good dash of stamina from her dam, the Noel Murless Stakes winner and Ascot Stakes third Mill Springs, who in turn is a daughter of Shirocco and Oaks third Mezzogiorno.

Night Battle, a 475,000gns Tattersalls October Book 1 yearling buy from breeder Mountarmstrong Stud, is the first foal out of Fine Time, an unraced Dansili full-sister to high-class pair Father Time and Passage Of Time. The unbeaten filly is trained by Simon and Ed Crisford for Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Like those two daughters of Kingman, the Queen’s homebred Improvise will be relying on his dam for the requisite stamina to see out the 11 and a half-furlong trip. 

The Michael Bell-trained filly is by the speedy Iffraaj, best known for his sprinters and milers, out of dual middle-distance Listed winner Set To Music. It augurs well that her full-sister Eightsome Reel won over ten furlongs in a light career.

Ralph Beckett’s representative Moon De Vega is by Lope De Vega, whose stock the trainer has excelled with in recent years, having also sent out Antonia De Vega, Feliciana De Vega, Isabel De Urbina, Manuela De Vega and Max Vega to big-race success. 

She was bred by Montcastle Bloodstock out of Lunesque, a winning Azamour half-sister to high-class middle-distance performer Celimene.

Completing the field is the Charlie Fellowes-trained Wynter Wildes, a Tamayuz filly from the family of Group 1 performers Highest, Nayyir and Sky Hunter bought from Shadwell for just 15,000gns as an unraced two-year-old at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale last year, as the late Sheikh Hamdan's operation downsized its string.