Frankel filly Aljezeera goes on trial for Epsom Oaks in Newbury heat
Friday 19 May 2017
Aljezeera will try to stake a late claim for the Investec Oaks in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial at Newbury on Saturday.
The Luca Cumani-trained filly is a daughter of Frankel and put up a fine performance on her sole juvenile start at Doncaster last August when she ran out a two-and-a-half-length winner over a rival who has since franked the form.
Owned by Al Shaqab Racing, who sponsor the Newbury card, Aljezeera is one of four runners among the six-strong field that still hold an Epsom entry.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for owner Al Shaqab, said: "Aljezeera has been a little bit slow to come to hand this year as she is a big, scopey filly.
"Her performance on Saturday should tell us if we are up to Oaks class.
"I think the jury is slightly out at the moment as the race she won last season didn't turn out to be particularly good, but she couldn't have done more than win on debut as a big, backward filly.
"Luca thinks she might just need the run on Saturday to wake herself up and gain some experience as she can be a bit in and out in her work.
"We have got to know where we stand. Luca is keen to get her rolling and, as it is Al Shaqab Lockinge day at Newbury on Saturday, it is a race we wanted to wait for."
John Gosden anticipates Gracious Diana having no problems in handling an easier surface on her return to the Berkshire track after she opened her account in clear-cut fashion over course and distance in April.
He said: "She is a grand filly with a lovely mind.
"I think she will handle the cut as she is out of a Generous mare and he handled it.
"To that extent, we are hopeful that she will run a bold race, but we are aware that it is a very hot race - as all these fillies' are looking for black type."
The Clive Cox-trained Flood Warning is one of two runners in the race, alongside Plead from the yard of Archie Watson, that does not hold a Classic engagement.
Connections of the former are hopeful she can run her race on ground that will suit.
Chris Richardson, racing manager to owners Cheveley Park Stud, said: "She is a filly that needs soft ground, so the ground has come right for her.
"This is a good opportunity to get some black type. It might be that a couple have improved past her and whether she is quite good enough only time will tell.
"She was in season on her penultimate start but she ran a nice race at Sandown last time. I think ground will be important as to where we place her."
The Roger Charlton-trained Natavia and Prosper from Roger Varian's yard hold Epsom entries and complete the field.
The 10-furlong race has been run under various guises in the past, with Eswarah in 2005 the last winner to go on to victory in the Oaks, although Dancing Rain finished second in 2011 before landing the Classic.