Nezwaah backed to lower Enable's colours in Yorkshire Oaks
Pretty Polly Stakes winner Nezwaah had her Yorkshire Oaks odds slashed to 7-1 (from 12) on Sunday, with red-hot Roger Varian revealing she is likely to take on Enable rather than contest the Juddmonte International Stakes 24 hours earlier.
Enable v Nezwaah would provide the Darley-sponsored Thursday highlight at York with a shot in the arm, and Varian could hardly be in better form, his Group 1 win at Deauville on Sunday with Ajman Princess coming hot on the heels of a memorable Saturday, when Defoe underlined his credentials for the William Hill St Leger.
The trainer said: "We're very likely to run Nezwaah in the Yorkshire Oaks. She's never run over a mile and a half, but her dam won over the trip and I think she's very likely to get it.
"She was very strong at the line when she won over a stiff ten at the Curragh."
Varian, who trains Geoffrey Freer winner Defoe and Prix Jean Romanet scorer Ajman Princess for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, and Nezwaah for Sheikh Ahmed, added: "Enable is going to be a very tough nut to crack, and she's not the only good filly in a select field, but we thought Nezwaah probably deserved to stay with her own sex and have a crack at the longer trip on what looks likely to be decent ground on a very fair track."
Enable, so impressive in last month's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, remains odds-on for a fourth Group 1 win in less than 12 weeks, with Betfred's 1-3 the top offer.
Her John Gosden-trained stablemate Cracksman, placed in two Derbys, is a general 11-8 for the same afternoon's Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes, in which his Curragh conqueror Capri is not sure to run, according to Aidan O'Brien, who outlined some of his key runners at the meeting.
O'Brien said on Sunday: "Capri didn't scope 100 per cent clean this morning. We'll scope him again tomorrow but he mightn't travel. The William Hill St Leger remains the plan."
The stable will nevertheless be strongly represented in the Voltigeur, and also in the Juddmonte International.
O'Brien continued: "We'll run Douglas MacArthur, Venice Beach and maybe another in the Voltigeur. All is well with Churchill and Cliffs Of Moher, our Juddmonte International runners. We just hope the rain stays away."
O'Brien added that Saturday's Irish St Leger Trial winner Order Of St George has next month's Irish St Leger next on his agenda, while he is not ruling out another crack at the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in which the five-year-old was third last year.
While there is some rain around at the start of the week, York clerk of the course William Derby said he would not be surprised if the meeting begins on Wednesday on good to firm ground.
He said on Sunday: "It's been dry since Friday and is currently good, good to firm in places. The forecast is for it to remain dry until overnight Monday into Tuesday, when we might get up to 5mm of rain.
"It's then forecast to be bright and breezy on Tuesday, with possibly just an odd shower, and the same again Wednesday.
"We could start the meeting on good to firm, but I've no problem with that as we've already had our month's quota of rain and there's plenty of moisture. We've no plans to water but we'll review the situation day by day."