Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shirocco has Choice of Engagements at York Ebor Festival

Few fillies in training deserve a Group 1 success more than Hughie Morrison’s admirable Shirocco Star, who has consistently performed with credit at the highest level in middle-distance contests on both sides of the Irish Sea this season, writes Elliot Slater.

The winner of a mile maiden at Newbury towards the end of last term, the daughter of Shirocco failed by only a short-head to make a winning start, this term, when just held by Momentary in the listed Sweetenham Stud Fillies Stakes back at the Berkshire track in May.

She then stepped up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time, when asked to tackle the Investec Oaks at Epsom, the following month.

Despite sweating up in the preliminaries and going freely to post and in the early stage of the classic contest, Morrison’s charge ran a tremendous race in failing by just a neck to peg back Ballydoyle’s Was in a fine finish to the showcase event.

On the back of that gruelling performance, Shirocco Star was a shade below her best, when only third to Princess Highway in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, three weeks later, but bounced back to close to her best when finding only the apparently high-class horse, Great Heavens, too good for her in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh, a month later.

Morrison looks set to send his admirable three-year-old north to York in late-August, where she has a choice of engagements at the high profile fixture.

The option of bidding for that elusive first Group 1 and tackling the Yorkshire Oaks remains very much on the table, but connections will have to weigh that up against the slightly easier option of the Group 2 Galtres Stakes at the same meeting, as they seek to win a good prize with their filly for the first time this season.

Race-goers thinking of making a bet on racing, this summer, should pay a visit to the horse racing betting news website on Bet365 for all the latest odds on British sport.

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