Above The Curve puts her Classic aspirations to the test when she lines up in the Weatherbys Bloodstock Pro Cheshire Oaks at Chester on Wednesday.
Third in a Leopardstown maiden on debut, the Joseph O’Brien-trained daughter of American Pharoah got off the mark when returned to the Dublin track for her reappearance and could continue on her upwards trajectory towards either Epsom or the Curragh with a strong performance in this Listed contest.
Having moved up to 10 furlongs last time, the three-year-old tries an extra two furlongs and, fresh from saddling a big double at the Curragh on Monday, her handler is looking forward to how she handles the tight turns of the Roodee.
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“The timing is good and it will be nice to get her around a track like that to give her experience if she is going to go to Epsom,” said O’Brien.
“If she handles the track and things go well then she might be an Epsom filly. She’s a fine big filly and I like her.”
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Hello Jumeirah and Night Battle both impressed with victories on the all-weather on debut and now take a step up in class on their second starts.
The latter is trained by Simon and Ed Crisford and showed more professionalism the further she went at Lingfield last month. A 475,000 guineas Kingman yearling, she is bred to be useful animal and her training team are eager to see how much she has improved on her second outing.
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Simon Crisford said: “She’s in good form at home, obviously it is a step up in class and trip, but we’ll find out where we are with her. We’ve been very pleased with her since her novice win.”
John Gosden’s Morning Poem could only finish fifth in a Kempton conditions race last time, but represents a team that have won two of the last four runnings of this race, while Aidan O’Brien has tasted victory in this recognised Oaks trial three times since 2015 and relies on Thoughts Of June, who finished second to Above The Curve at Leopardstown most recently.
The Queen saw her Derby candidate Reach For The Moon ruled out of the premier Classic on Tuesday but could unearth another Group-level contender when Michael Bell’s Improvise makes her return to the track.
Bell saddled the dam to a pair of Listed victories and is hoping that her offspring can follow in her footsteps and develop into a fine operator this season.
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“I’m hopeful the step up in trip will suit her, her mother who I trained stayed well and improved from two to three and she’s a very similar type physically to her dam, so hopefully she’ll perform to somewhere near the same level,” said Bell.
“There are many bridges to cross before then (Ribblesdale, Royal Ascot), but if she was to run well here then that would open that window. She needs to perform to a Pattern-class level on Wednesday first.
“It’s nice to have these nice prospects, especially when you’ve trained the mother as well and she improved with age and we’re hopeful Improvise will do the same.”
Moon De Vega and Makinmedoit are two others who arrive here having won when last sighted, with the latter impressive when a five-length scorer at Brighton only last week, while the field is rounded off by Typewriter and Wynter Wildes.