William Haggas holds a strong hand in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday with Dramatic Queen and Klassique – and is struggling to split them.
Klassique won a Group Three on her most recent outing in heavy ground over the same course and distance, while Dramatic Queen got back on the winning trail at York over an extra couple of furlongs.
“I can’t really split them, I gave Danny (Tudhope) the choice and it took him a hell of a long time to chose Klassique,” said Haggas.
“One would probably prefer slower ground (Klassique) and the other probably wants further, so we shall see.
“Looking at Klassique’s breeding she shouldn’t necessarily need it soft, she’s quite wiry and there’s not much of her.
“They are both very genuine, try like hell and really get stuck in. They’ve both won a Group Three and deserve a step up in class.”
Dramatic Queen just wore down John Gosden’s Enbihaar on the Knavesmire and the two meet again with connections of Enbihaar hoping the drop in trip is in her favour.
“It was a strange one at York, I think she’d been in front long enough,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
“She never looked like getting beaten, yet she managed to somehow. She made all the running and just drifted right. She’d maybe just been on her own a long time and got run out of it.
“She’s lightly-raced still. She was very hot in her early days, but now has a very good attitude for racing. This would have been the obvious race had she won at York, so there was no reason not to come.
“I don’t think coming back in trip will be a problem.”
Gosden also runs Highgarden.
Andrew Balding’s Shailene was a winner in Italy last time out and was second in a Listed race to Sun Maiden prior to that.
“She won well in Italy last time and the form of her Nottingham second looks stronger as the winner (Sun Maiden) has gone to win a Group Three since,” said Balding.
“It’s a step up in class, but she’s a filly we’ve always liked and she seems to be thriving on her racing.”
Mark Johnston’s Nyaleti completes the field.