Daahyeh sets the standard in Rockfel

Royal Ascot victor could tee up Breeders’ Cup bid

  • Thursday 26 September
  • News
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Royal Ascot heroine Daahyeh bids to rediscover the winning trail in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

Roger Varian’s filly looked every inch a top-class juvenile in the making after following up her successful Newmarket debut with victory in the Albany Stakes at Berkshire in mid-June.

She has had to make do with the runner-up spot in her subsequent two starts, but has lost little in defeat in chasing home Raffle Prize in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and Love in the Moyglare Stud Stakes in Ireland, less than a fortnight ago.

Varian said: “Daahyeh ran great in the Moyglare on her first try at seven furlongs when she was coming back after a bit of a break. I am really happy at how she has come out of that race and am very much looking forward to running her.

“It was a tight decision choosing between running her here or in the Cheveley Park Stakes on Saturday.

“But the long-term plan may include taking her over to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf over a longer trip, so it seemed sensible to stick at seven furlongs instead of yo-yoing back down to six.”

Daahyeh is one of three Varian runners, with the Bury Road-based trainer also saddling the consistent maiden Stylistique – the mount of Frankie Dettori – and Salisbury second Alash Orda.

“Alash Orda is a lovely filly who is making a big jump in class, but she will be a nice horse in time,” the trainer added.

“Stylistique is getting better and better and although she is still a maiden, I don’t believe that her current handicap mark of 98 flatters her or is any kind of fluke.

“She won’t have to improve much to make the frame on Friday.”

Richard Hannon’s Cloak Of Spirits made a big impression on her racecourse introduction at Ascot in July, but could only finish sixth when hot favourite for the May Hill at Doncaster earlier this month.

Aidan O’Brien – who claimed this Group Two prize for the third time with Just Wonderful 12 months ago – relies on Blissful, who has won her last two starts at Tipperary and Leopardstown.

Festival Day is an interesting contender for Mark Johnston, turning out just 10 days after bolting up at Chepstow.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “It wouldn’t be something we usually do – throwing a horse in at the deep end so quickly – but this filly was showing enough early on to give her some entries at this sort of level.

“She was unlucky to be narrowly beaten on her first run at Goodwood and she put that experience to good use at Chepstow last week.

“Daahyeh sets a very good standard and will be a tough nut to crack. It’s a bit of a fact-finding mission for us, but we hope she’ll be competitive.”

The other hopefuls are Under The Stars (James Tate), Hot Touch (Hugo Palmer) and Alabama Whitman (Richard Spencer).

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