We are always guaranteed to get some strong trials at York’s Dante meeting and we saw some likely Classic challengers in the two big trial races on the Knavesmire this week.
Wednesday’s Musidora threw up a convincing winner in SNOWFALL. She looked pretty exposed after a juvenile career that produced just a maiden win in seven starts and saw her beaten more than 10l in two Group 1 races in the autumn. However she looked a much stronger individual at York and has the scope to progress as the season progresses.
That said, she benefited from a canny ride by Ryan Moore, allowed to dictate his own pace and Snowfall rarely looked like getting challenge once Moore asked for more effort over 3f out. Snowfall should have no issue with the trip being a daughter of Deep Impact out of an Aidan O’Brien trained mare Best in the World who won a Group 3 over 12f.
The quality of the form has to be held in question however. NOON STAR was the beaten favourite in second, having come into the race off the back of a Wetherby novice win. The third home TEONA clearly has plenty of talent but will need to mature quickly with Epsom in mind.
She played up in the stalls and then pulled far too hard in the early stages. Given that she plugged on well in the closing stages and the engine is certainly there if trainer Roger Varian get her head right.
The suspicion though is that whilst Snowfall sets a decent yatdstick, she would require this to be a sub-standard renewal of the Oaks to win at Epsom.
The stronger trial was probably the Dante where HURRICANE LANE maintained his 100% race record in game fashion. Encouragingly this son of Frankel was doing his best work in the closing stages after getting driven along as the pace increased and he is a son of Gale Force who won three times over 2m in 2015 for trainer James Fanshawe, so the extra distance at Epsom should be no issue.
HIGH DEFINITION was expected to make a winning reappearance for Aidan O’Brien, but not for the first time in his career he hit a flat spot and was required to make up plenty of ground in the closing stages. He managed to do that in breathtaking fashion to win the Beresford at the Curragh last year, but on this speed track he could never quite peg back the winner. Stamina is clearly his strong point and it would be no surprise to see connections reach for some form of headgear next time to try and help sharpen him up. O’Brien’s colts have generally needed their first run of the season and ante-post backers should definitely not lose faith in him just yet.