Previews26 May 2023

'She's in good form but two things are completely unknown - the distance and the ground!'

'The Derby is still the same race it was': William Haggas reflects on the status of the Epsom Classic
William Haggas: won this with Sea Silk Road and tries again this time with Blue MissileCredit: Edward Whitaker (

It's been 13 years since Snow Fairy's victory in this race earned her a supplementary entry into the Oaks at Epsom, and while none of these fillies looks likely to follow suit, don't be surprised if there is a Ribblesdale contender on show.

Two of the last five winners went off favourite for that Royal Ascot Group 2, both finishing second, including Sea Silk Road for William Haggas last year.

Haggas is this year represented by the royally owned Blue Missile, who won a Lingfield novice on the second of two juvenile starts and was one of the market leaders on first show.

That Lingfield form is far from special, though, and with only two of the last nine winners taking this first time out, the bookies could be barking up the wrong tree.

The filly with arguably the best form is Araminta, who was third in Listed company on her second outing at Goodwood this month. That was on heavy ground, however, and her debut win came on soft.

One of the few with no big entries, she was very keen last time, and her dam was a sprinter who won on soft ground, so she has something to prove going up to 1m2f on quicker ground.

Veil Of Shadows is another with form figures of 13 this season and no entries, and she was weak in the market when a Godolphin second-string in novice company at Ascot. However, a three-length third conceding 9lb to Queen For You looks a lot better after the winner's short-head defeat in Listed company at York.

A steady gallop did not suit Veil Of Shadows, who was outpaced before finishing well, and she will relish the extra distance.

Ralph Beckett's record with fillies means Understated has to be respected, even though a Racing Post Rating of 79 for winning her novice at Windsor means she has an awful lot to find.

Secret Solace was highly regarded by Marcus Tregoning last season and is bred to do better at middle distances, while Johnny Murtagh, whose only two previous Goodwood runners include Gordon Stakes winner Ottoman Emperor, sends Fast Tara over.

She didn't appear to get home when seventh of eight in the Group 3 Blue Wind, but she had attracted a bit of market support and may do better yet.
Analysis by Paul Kealy

What they say

Henry Candy, trainer of Araminta
She's in good form but two things are completely unknown – the distance and the ground! She stayed on well at Goodwood last time and looks as though she'll get a trip, but her pedigree is a complete mixture so we'll just have to learn as we go along.

William Haggas, trainer of Blue Missile
She's been a bit slow to come to hand this year, which is why she hasn't run. She's a nice filly and the trip should be fine. I hope she'll run a good race.

Robert Thornton, racing manager to Apple Tree Stud, owners of Heavenly Breath
We're hopeful. It was a disappointing run in Germany, but one or two things came to light afterwards which are fine now. Her previous form was really good and we have no worries about the ground.

Marcus Tregoning, trainer of Secret Solace
She's in good form and I hope she runs a big race, although it's highly competitive. She progressed last year, the ground will be perfect and I'm sure the trip will be fine – her dam was beaten half a length in the Cheshire Oaks over a mile and a half for me.
Reporting by David Carr

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Paul KealySenior tipster
David CarrReporter
Published on 25 May 2023Last updated 18:06, 25 May 2023