Horses To Follow » Beatrice Aurore

Beatrice Aurore

Beatrice Aurore made it three wins out of five lifetime starts when backing up her impressive win in a Goodwood handicap at the start of May in the Listed Height of Fashion Stakes back at the Sussex venue two weeks later, and John Dunlop’s filly now takes her chance in the Oaks.

She did well to win here as she was trapped in behind when Highest strode on as Imperial Pippin tried to make ground on her outside and Date With Destiny in front of her on the rails angled out to try to tackle the leader. Ted Durcan bided his time on her, waiting for the cut-away on the inside to go past Date With Destiny and then pulling out to challenge Highest and ultimately going past readily, showing a nice turn of foot entering the final furlong and winning by a cosy length and a half. She beat some useful types here in a decent time, just 0.33 seconds per furlong slower than standard, the fastest comparative time of the day and a fair bit faster than the time that Masked Marvel clocked in the Cocked Hat Stakes, ostensibly a Derby trial. It was a similar story on her previous run when a rival got first run on her as she had to wait for a split on the inside. Then, as now, she readily cut the other filly down once in the clear to win going away.

Admittedly that previous win was over a mile and this one was over just shy of 10 furlongs so it will be a big step up, both in terms of trip and class, at Epsom. That said, there is plenty of stamina in her pedigree which bodes well for her getting the mile and a half of the Oaks. Her dam was a Listed winner over a mile and a half herself, and she is a half-sister to Jahafil, winner of a 12-furlong Group 3 contest and twice a Listed winner over 14 furlongs. Both trainer and jockey believe she’ll stay the extra two furlongs, and while she has to step up on this to be a live Oaks contender, this was just her fifth run and she is progressing all the time. She has handled this track twice now which augurs well for Epsom, a similarly undulating track. On top of that, she was weak in the market here, so there could be a fair bit of improvement to come between this race and the Oaks.

The Height of Fashion Stakes, the old Lupe Stakes, has proven to be a provider of high-class fillies in the past, a fact that is not universally recognised. Past winners have gone on to scale even greater heights. Love Divine went on to win the Oaks, Michita won the Ribblesdale, and Moneycantbuymelove won the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot, while it is also worth remembering that Snow Fairy, trained by John Dunlop’s son Ed, won this race before going on to Epsom glory last year.

18th May 2011