Jack Davison’s Mooneista has a Sapphire Stakes title defence in her sights after a fourth-placed performance at Royal Ascot.
The filly has consistently made the frame this term in black-type races, finishing third in the Woodlands Stakes and second in both the Cork and the Greenlands Stakes.
A journey to the Royal meeting followed the latter run, where she was a 16-1 chance for the King’s Stand against an international field made up of some of the world’s leading sprinters.
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Australia’s Nature Strip was the five-and-a-quarter-length winner, with Mooneista involved in a bunched-up fight for the placings in which she crossed the line in fourth.
Davison was pleased to see the four-year-old, who is owned and was bred by his parents, hold her own at the level, but felt a slow start from the American-trained favourite Golden Pal did not aid her cause as he was not able to set the fast pace she relishes.
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“She did run a good race, I would have preferred it if the American horse hadn’t missed the kick as that would have meant a stronger pace,” he said.
“That said, and all things considered, she ran her race. I think she belongs in that kind of company and she showed that.
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“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if we thought the American horse was going to miss the kick then we might have been a little bit more positive and that might have been the difference between fourth and second, but it was a good run.”
The bay was the winner of the Group Two Sapphire Stakes last season and will aim for the race on July 16 again this year, with a return to Group One level then on the radar as top-flight sprints both domestic and international are under consideration.
Davison said: “She came out of Royal Ascot very well. The plan is to run in the Sapphire, the Group Two on Oaks weekend at the Curragh, thereafter we’d look at races likes the Flying Five, the Abbaye and the Breeders’ Cup sprint.”