Soul Sister stakes Oaks claim with dominant Musidora verdict
Frankie Dettori’s farewell season continues to provide big-race winners and the Italian could have found himself the perfect partner for the Betfred Oaks as Soul Sister romped to Tattersalls Musidora Stakes victory at York.
A winner on debut at Doncaster at two, the John and Thady Gosden-trained daughter of Frankel was never involved in the Fred Darling when making her return to the track at Newbury last month.
However, she thrived for the step up to 10 furlongs in this renowned Epsom trial and having been ridden patiently as the main protagonists of Infinite Cosmos, Gather Ye Rosebuds and Novakai were all prominent in the early stages, no filly was travelling better as the runners straightened for home.
Still to ask his mount for maximum effort as the rest of the field came under a drive, Dettori soon pushed the button and the response was immediate with the 18-1 winner storming clear of her rivals to record a clear-cut four-length success.
The Gosdens and Dettori combined to win this with Emily Upjohn 12 months ago before being narrowly denied at Epsom and Soul Sister is now a 5-1 chance with Coral and 4-1 with both Betfair and Paddy Power to hit the target in the fillies’ Classic on June 2.
John Gosden said: “We liked her at Doncaster but when you’ve won your only race, you are almost forced into a trial. We ran in the Fred Darling but the ground was bottomless. It ended up being a nice piece of work.
“Lady Bamford won this with Star Of Seville, so I was keen to run to see what we had. I didn’t expect her to win by four lengths but I did think she’d definitely be in the three. It’s wonderful for an owner/breeder to win a race like this.
“Frankie thinks she should run in the Oaks, so we will. Frankie is having a good spell, he was in Belmont last week. It looks like he has a chance in the Oaks and the Derby is quite open too, so we’ll see what happens in the Dante.
“She’s trained very well for this, I’d explained to Lady Bamford we needed to find out what we had and I knew the trip and ground would improve her.
“Recently she’s really come to herself, a lot of fillies have struggled this year with the cold and wet spring. She’s really bloomed in her coat and shown her class today.
“At the moment, I’ll talk to Oisin (Murphy) again, but I think we’ll have Running Lion (Pretty Polly winner) in the Oaks as well. At this moment we’ve got two lovely fillies.”
Dettori added: “John liked her but the ground and the distance at Newbury were wrong and John’s horses all needed the run.
“She gave me a great feel, travelled well, quickened twice and won by four lengths. I wasn’t really expecting that!”
Karl Burke was satisfied with Novakai’s effort in second, but feels the Prix de Diane is a more likely target for his charge.
“You’re always a bit disappointed when you get beat, but she ran a lovely race for her first run and the winner had a run under her belt.
“She got in a nice rhythm. With hindsight we probably could have gone and made the running, but they were going a nice, even gallop and she quickened up once and just keeps galloping after that.
“I have to speak to the owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, but I would say the French Oaks (Prix de Diane) is probably favourite. She is in the English Oaks as well and I’m sure she would stay a mile and a half, but I know Sheikh Mohammed Obaid was favouring the French Oaks beforehand.
“She’s a high-class filly and had some good fillies behind her today.”
Sir Michael Stoute would have preferred not to set the pace with Infinite Cosmos, who was beaten a further half-length in third as the 15-8 favourite.
He said: “She ran a nice, solid race and stays well.
“She’s still a little bit raw. It wasn’t really the plan (to make the running), we just sort of found ourselves there. We would have liked a lead.”
Midnight Mile came home fourth for Richard Fahey, who said: “She ran well and there was plenty of strength in depth in the race.
“I just felt she got tired in the last furlong, so that will put her right.
“We’ll keep her at that trip at the moment, definitely. On the dam’s side she can go further in time, but at the moment I’m thinking of the Prix de Diane and I haven’t changed my mind.”