Weatherbys ePassport Finance Cheshire Oaks
|Fillies' Listed, Chester 14:15
1m 3f 75y, Class 1
|Wednesday 5th May 2021|
1 Dubai Fountain 13/8F
2 Zeyaadah 5/1
3 Nicest 9/1
7 ran Distances: 1l, 4¾l, 2¼l
Time: 2m 32.72s (slow by 9.12s)
Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain was the clear standard-setter on juvenile form, which included a fourth-placed finish on her most recent appearance in the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October.
The daughter of Teofilo was the 13-8 favourite for her comeback in the hands of Chester specialist Franny Norton, who after tracking the pacesetting Quenelle D’Or for much of the contest, committed for home before the home turn.
That decision from the veteran Liverpudlian may well have proved crucial, as the previously unbeaten Zeyaadah was briefly caught in a pocket before the gap came early in the home straight, by which time Dubai Fountain was in full flight.
Zeyaadah made inroads late on, but the Johnston runner had enough in the tank to keep her at bay by a length.
Johnston said: “Franny said it was very stop-start and he was happy to get a lead, but the pace was on and off which didn’t really suit.
“He was having to wake her up and then steady her again, so he could never get her into a nice rhythm – he felt it wasn’t her best performance, but it was good enough for me, I was happy with that.
“It will be straight to Epsom now, we were saying throughout last year we thought she was an Oaks filly rather than a Guineas filly.
“She obviously failed to win a Group race last year, but she ran some great races. We’ve been thinking about the Oaks for a long time.
“She was beaten just a length by the Guineas winner (Mother Earth) over a mile last year, when we always felt she’d be better over further.
“I don’t think the key to her chance was going up in trip, she’s good enough, otherwise you’d be saying that about every horse who ran in a trial. She’s been running at that level (Group One) there’s no reason to think she’s not good enough.
“We’ll just have to hope there’s not one better!”
Norton said: “I didn’t find a rhythm straight away, but I was happy with where I was. Then I just felt it was all a bit muddly, a bit stop-start.
“Going down the gears and back up didn’t suit her, but once I revved her up three out it was game over. I could feel one coming, so she just needed a couple of flicks to keep her going.”
Weatherbys ePassport Cheshire Oaks
(Robert Sangster Memorial Cup) (Fillies' Listed)
£60,000 added, 3yo only, 1m 3f 75y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
POS. (DRAW) DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 (3) Dubai Fountain 3 9-0 Mark Johnston Franny Norton 13/8F
2 (7) 1 Zeyaadah 3 9-3 Roger Varian Jim Crowley 5/1
3 (2) 4¾ Nicest 3 9-0 Donnacha Aidan O'Brien Ryan Moore 9/1
4 (4) 2¼ La Joconde 3 9-0 A P O'Brien Oisin Murphy 9/2
5 (6) 5½ Ahandfulofsummers 3 9-0 J A Stack William Buick 28/1
6 (5) 3¼ Darlectable You 3 9-0 2 John & Thady Gosden Frankie Dettori 9/2
7 (1) ½ Quenelle D'Or 3 9-0 Hugo Palmer James Doyle 11/1