Lightly-raced William Haggas trained filly Frankellina can go one better than her last visit to York now eased significantly in grade for the Listed feature race on the Knavesmire this Friday, the extended 1m 2f Lyric Stakes (19:30).
This Anthony Oppenheimer owned daughter of Frankel has won just one of her four career outings, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
After landing her sole start as a juvenile, connections pitched her straight into Group 3 company here on reappearance.
Frankellina dwelt at the start and gave away three lengths in the Musidora Stakes over course and distance. She rallied superbly, however, and went down all guns blazing by a neck to Nausha.
Given how the race panned out and the distance forfeited, it was a fine effort from an inexperienced filly.
Frankellina was also far from disgraced in the Epsom Oaks when beaten less than five lengths by Anapurna.
That Group 1 form reads very well in the context of this lower grade affair. Soft ground was also against Frankellina and several others in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out.
She was a one-pace six-length sixth to Star Catcher, but the winner has since followed-up in the Irish Oaks.
That advertises the form and, with the return to a sounder surface a plus, Frankellina has nothing to fear from the re-opposing Fanny Logan. This is her easiest assignment all season and she’s top rated in the eight-runner field.
So, with the Haggas stable on a 25 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days at the time of writing, Frankellina is fancied most at 3/1 with Paddy Power for the Lyric Stakes.
Encapsulation feared most in Lyric Stakes
As Tom Dascombe’s 1000 Guineas seventh Iconic Choice has stamina doubts and disappointed in two subsequent starts abroad, the main danger looks to be Encapsulation.
Now trained by Andrew Balding, this Irish import and daughter of Zoffany is also lightly-raced.
After winning a Clonmel maiden on her second start for Noel Meade, Encapsulation was held half-a-length at this level by Pink Dogwood at Navan.
The winner has since finished runner-up in the Epsom Oaks, then third in the Pretty Polly and Irish Oaks at The Curragh.
That Salsabil Stakes form arguably sets the standard here, especially as the third filly home, Tarnawa, came out and landed a Group 3.
Encapsulation ran fine on debut for new handler when held by three-quarters of a length in the Coral Distaff on Eclipse Day earlier this month.
The mile trip, despite the stiff uphill finish of that Listed contest at Sandown, was arguably too sharp for her.
Stepping back up in distance holds no fears for Encapsulation, but this is her third start at this level.
There’s definitely further improvement to come from her yet this demands more than Sandown, given some of the fillies on show ran in Classics earlier in the campaign.
While it would be no surprise to see Encapsulation take another step forward under jockey Oisin Murphy, she’s taken on with Frankellina due to the latter’s course form.
Odds of 9/4 with William Hill for Encapsulation are still respected though, and she can at worst fill the forecast spot here.
Unbeaten Kirstenbosch interesting, Fanny Logan each-way value
There are a few who will fancy their chances of making the frame here, but the undefeated Kirstenbosch appeals more than most each-way.
You can certainly question what James Fanshawe’s charge has beaten on both her career outings, but she’s ran out a clear winner of each.
After scoring by 3 1/2 lengths on debut in a Redcar mile maiden, the daughter of Mount Nelson followed-up under a penalty on the all-weather at Chelmsford.
She was ridden clear again and won by five lengths when firmly justifying favouritism.
The BHA have allotted her an opening mark of 98 on the back of that, but it could underestimate Kirstenbosch. She is the least exposed in the line-up and open to the most progress.
Granted further improvement, Kirstenbosch is an alternative bet to consider at 11/4 with Betway in the Lyric Stakes on the upgrade.
The aforementioned Fanny Logan represents John Gosden and is also interesting down in trip.
Although the daughter of Sea The Stars has plenty to find with Frankellina, going down in distance is also in her favour.
Fanny Logan won her last start in Yorkshire when landing a novice event at Wetherby on reappearance. She has since raced on softer surfaces in the Cheshire Oaks and the Ribblesdale.
Stable companion Mehdaayih had too much for her at the May Festival and she was then a fading ninth at Royal Ascot last time out.
PJ McDonald now takes the ride on Fanny Logan and the hood goes on for the first time. If that headgear helps her to settle, then it’s not a stretch to imagine her improving and making the frame here.
Fanny Logan completes our Lyric Stakes preview as another each-way possibility at 12/1 with Betfair now down in grade.