John Gosden© Photo Healy Racing
Royal Ascot disappointment Al Asifah bids to get her season back on track in an intriguing renewal of the EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies’ Stakes at Yarmouth on Wednesday.
Following an emphatic victory on her racecourse debut at Haydock in May, the daughter of Frankel made a huge impression in a Listed event at Goodwood the following month, prompting connections to stump up the supplementary fee to add her to the Ribblesdale Stakes just 11 days later.
The gamble failed to pay off, though, with John and Thady Gosden’s youngster finishing a well beaten sixth behind subsequent Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille heroine Warm Heart and she has since been given an extended break to recover from her exertions.
Angus Gold, racing manager for owner-breeders Shadwell, said: “We gave her a nice break after Ascot and she seems in good form, so it will be very interesting to get her back on the track.
“Until she disappoints again, I would say it all just came a bit quick for her in the Ribblesdale. Lots of clever people said she didn’t stay the mile and a half, but for me that wasn’t what got her beaten as she wouldn’t have won at a mile and a quarter either.
“I just think she was very flat on the day. She’s a big, immature filly and while she’s not temperamentally unsound, I think everything just got on top of her a little bit (at Ascot).
“I’m sure she’ll be better in time and we hope she does well enough that we can keep her in training next year.”
Al Asifah faces a far from straightforward task, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Infinite Cosmos making her first competitive appearance since finishing third in the Musidora at York in the spring, while Sapphire Seas is stepped up in class by Charlie Appleby having won her last three starts.
Gold added: “It always is a good race this and a great race to have on the calendar. You have fillies coming back from little niggles and different things, so it will be a good test for her.”
The Shadwell colours will also be carried by Roger Varian’s Mukaddamah, who has been placed in Listed company before – but Gold acknowledges this is a tough assignment for the grade.
He said: “She’s a nice, solid filly and we’ve been trying to win a Listed race with her.
“With the other filly in here I wouldn’t expect her to win this, but we don’t have many options as she doesn’t really like soft ground, so I think they just felt this was the obvious race for her.”