David Wachman is looking forward to seeing Legatissimo test her powers over the mile and a half at Epsom as she bids to become the first 1,000 Guineas winner in over a decade to double up in the Investec Oaks today.
The daughter of Danehill Dancer stormed home at Newmarket in early May under a brilliant Ryan Moore ride, a victory which came just a week after a Listed victory over nine and a half furlongs at Gowran Park.
Legatissimo steps back up in distance as she bids to become the first filly since Kazzia in 2002 to complete the Classic double. “She seems very well, we are happy with her and she has done nothing wrong,” said Wachman.
“We always felt the Guineas would be within her compass, but it was going to be the bottom end [trip-wise]. I always felt a mile would be as short as she would ever go.
“It will be interesting to see her over the longer trip. She is definitely stronger now. I’m happy with her and we’ve had no setbacks so far.”
Moore will have to navigate a passage from stall one, a starting berth from which no filly has managed to win the Oaks since Salsabil 25 years ago. Legatissimo spearheads a formidable Irish assault on this year’s renewal, with Aidan O’Brien firing three bullets in his bid for a fifth Oaks victory. The trainer’s son, Joseph, partners Musidora Stakes runner-up Together Forever, with Seamie Heffernan on board Cheshire Oaks heroine Diamondsandrubies.
Colm O’Donoghue has been booked to ride the O’Brien-trained outsider Qualify.
The fifth challenger from across the Irish Sea is Jack Naylor, who made a most encouraging return when fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas for Jessica Harrington.
Heading the home team in the 11-strong field is Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Zvezda, a hugely impressive winner of a Listed event at Newbury last month. Richard Hughes will be on board as Stoute bids for a third Oaks – and a first since Unite in 1987.
“She took a long time to come to herself this spring and then suddenly a week before her Newbury race she showed a real spark so we were confident she would run a big race,” said Stoute. “We have always liked her a lot – she is very talented.”
John Gosden won his first Oaks with Taghrooda 12 months ago and this year saddles two major contenders in Pretty Polly winner Jazzi Top and Musidora scorer Star Of Seville. Frankie Dettori had the choice of the Gosden pair and went for Jazzi Top, whose sister, Izzi Top, was third in the 2011 Oaks.
In the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, Don’t Be has grappled her way up the ladder and thoroughly deserves a shot at Group Three glory.
Formerly trained in France, she began life with Sir Mark Prescott off a mark of 72 last year but five all-weather wins have seen her rise through the ratings and she now sits on a perch of 100 after winning a Goodwood Listed heat last time out.
Don’t Be has a little to find with the likes of Lightning Thunder on the bare ratings but she is an in-form mare who can make the most of her forward momentum.
Shifting Power’s confidence should be riding high following a recent win at Windsor and he can prevail in the Investec Diomed Stakes.