Musidora Stakes Tips: The Algarve to have day in the sun

Emily Upjohn for the Gosdens is favourite for this contest and The Oaks at Epsom
Emily Upjohn for the Gosdens is favourite for this contest and The Oaks at Epsom

The Musidora Stakes is often one of the most informative Oaks Trials of the season as the fillies crank up preparation for Epsom. The favourite for the Classic Emily Upjohn is set to take her chance and faces off with current third favourite for the contest Life Of Dreams, but Billy Grimshaw is siding with the form team's runner to turn both over and stake her claim for Classic glory...

Last year's Musidora winner was of course the ill-fated Snowfall and after a dominant display on the Knavesmire she duly headed to Epsom with outstanding claims. What followed was one of the most impressive Oaks wins in recent memories as she destroyed the field to win by sixteen lengths and cement herself as the leading three year old filly of her generation. It is a tall order to expect any of this field to emulate the style in which Snowfall completed this double, but many will be hoping to take the same route as 2021's heroine.

Strong favourite at the time of writing, Emily Upjohn could hardly have done anymore when last seen, looking every inch an Oaks filly in a Sandown romp. All of her best work was done at the finish in that contest as she defied a seven pound rise to maintain her unbeaten record. A daughter of the great Sea The Stars, she certainly has the pedigree for this kind of test and indeed what is undoubtedly to come at Epsom. Frankie Detorri was effusive in his praise of her work before the Sandown victory and she is clearly extremely well thought of by connections, but in a race that looks as hot as this one at her price I can avoid tipping her up. Of course she could go on and cruise in again and be touching even money for the Oaks, but if that is the case we could still do well in betting terms by finding the one to follow her home at York.

Next in the market is Life Of Dreams, another regally bred filly by Dubawi out of a Sea The Stars mare. Her latest appearance on a racecourse did not quite give off the same wow factor as the favourite, but she was classy nonetheless when landing the odds at Newbury. The Godolphin team of Charlie Appleby and William Buick started the season like a house on fire and although over the last week Ballydoyle bit back, there is no question Godolphin have stacks of firepower and this filly looks their leading Oaks hope so must be hugely respected. Her maiden success over Spyfall exemplified her temperament and she looked to be as relaxed as can be expected throughout the race, which is a wonderful sign for her supporters for both this race and the Classic to come in June 

Luna Dorada looks set to take her chance for Ralph Beckett and her form has been franked a few times since she was last seen in the autumn at this track over a mile. This Golden Horn filly looked to win that day with relative ease and is certainly a top prospect over middle distances this campaign but it would, as the odds suggest, be a surprise if she were to come home in front of some of the more high profile rivals in this race. Ching Shih is currently the outsider of the six strong field but she is no back number either. David Simcock's daughter of Lope De Vega looks like she has been aimed at this race and is certainly bred for this sort of test. The trainer actually won this race with this filly's dam and although all her winning was done on softer ground than is likely on Wednesday back in the autumn she should enjoy the conditions on pedigree and could potentially surprise a few. 

The one I am siding with each-way in this Group Three Oaks trial is THE ALGARVE for men of the moment Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore. This team at Ballydoyle have been sweeping all Classic trials before them recently and could not be in better form heading to the Knavesmire. O'Brien often reaches new heights in the training ranks but even by his standards, sending five runners to Chester and returning with five winners is some feat! A feature of a lot of Ballydoyle Classic contenders coming out for the first time as three year olds seems to be that they have kicked on even more than expected from two to three over the winter. This has led O'Brien to wonder in some interviews if his two year olds were not quite right throughout the 2020/21 campaign and if his suspicions are right then that is a frightening prospect for all other connections as his string certainly seem in rude health now!

The Algarve was last seen at Galway in October when winning a heavy ground maiden from Native Queen by two and a quarter lengths. Back in third that day was Hymn Book Too, who has been out three times this campaign already and franked The Algarve's form by winning at Tipperary recently from Artistic Choice. That runner had chased home Changingoftheguard at Dundalk beforehand, another impressive O'Brien trials winner at Chester, and so the form is certainly stacking up.

This filly is by American Pharoah and so the expected quick ground should play to her strengths. If she has followed the same pattern as her same age stablemates in taking a huge step forward over the winter then she is certainly worth an each-way play with two places available as an insurance policy against the potential of Emily Upjohn being particularly special. I would also recommend having a small wager on The Algarve to win The Oaks in less than a months time too, for if she is successful here her price will be nowhere near the 33/1 available now with Betfred.

2022 Musidora Stakes
The Algarve silk

The Algarve (EW)

The Oaks
The Algarve silk

The Algarve

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