Just eight days after the conclusion of the Dante Festival, more top-class Flat action takes place at York on Saturday with the 1m 6f Group 3 Bronte Cup for fillies the feature (15:05).
Trainer Roger Varian has made a cracking start to the Flat season and his Pilaster just shades the ratings battle in a competitive renewal.
This four-year-old daughter of Nathaniel hit a hat-trick in her first three starts last season when progressing at a rate of knots.
Pilaster made successive steps up in trip to score over this distance in a Group 2 at Glorious Goodwood.
She engaged in a sustained duel with the re-opposing Maid Up, but prevailed in the final stride to just score by a short-head. There’s little to choose between the pair on either form or ratings.
Pilaster was then far from disgraced when beaten a half-a-length in third by God Given in the similar grade Park Hill Stakes during the Doncaster St Leger Festival.
She then found soft ground against her when dropping back in trip and eighth to Magical on British Champions Day at Ascot.
As Pilaster now goes back against her own sex after finishing third in a Listed contest to Elegiac at Nottingham, she also looks sure to come on for that reappearance run here.
Now spot on to do herself justice and racing off level weights with her rivals, she looks well worth a wager at 3/1 with William Hill to resume winning ways for owners Cheveley Park Stud.
Enbihaar may be main danger
Despite Maid Up getting another crack at Pilaster, she has a new rival who commands respect in this in the shape of the John Gosden trained Enbihaar.
This Redoute’s Choice filly represents last year’s winning handler and powerful owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
After winning an all-weather novice stakes at Kempton last September, Enbihaar was a fine 2 1/4 lengths fourth to Ghostwatch in a Listed affair at Ascot.
The form of that race looks strong as the winner had previously landed the Melrose Handicap at the Ebor Festival, while the third horse home Austrian School scored in the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh this season.
Enbihaar, who pulled 11 lengths clear of the fifth, has advertised the form herself with victory in a 1m 4f Listed event at Goodwood on reappearance earlier this month.
She made most of the running and asserted well when pressed to win by 1 3/4 lengths. An 8lb rise in her rating to 105 looks fair and the manner of that result suggests Enbihaar may be well worth a crack at this level.
There could be even more to come from her now back up in trip and she is 2/1 with Coral here as a result.
Maid Up may make step forward
Maid Up is also on a mark of 105 and got compensation for losing that tussle with Pilaster next time up when eased in grade but returning to Goodwood.
Andrew Balding’s Mastercraftsman filly landed the Group 3 March Stakes from Ben Vrackie in comfortable fashion when pushed out to score by 1 1/4 lengths.
She then found Classic company in the St Leger too hot to handle when never dangerous, beaten 12 1/2 lengths and ninth to Kew Gardens.
Maid Up trailed in last of seven on reappearance in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes over 1m 4f at Newmarket. It was a race where many sorts disappointed, however, and she may well leave it behind her.
She wasn’t fancied at all that day, but now down in grade and back against her own sex it ought to see her in a better light.
Regular rider Rob Hornby has partnered her to all four career successes, and she cannot be ruled out at 9/2 with Unibet now up in trip and returned to calmer waters.
Bayshore Freedom and Dramatic Queen have place potential
Everything else in the field has a bit to find on the first three, according to official figures. That makes it hard to see anything else making the frame unless one of the fancied fillies runs below par.
In the event that does happen, Bayshore Freedom won a handicap over this distance off top weight last time out and now seeks a hat-trick.
Trained by Mark Johnston, this daughter of Declaration Of War has five of her 12 career starts and placed on six other occasions.
That means Bayshore Freedom is a very consistent sort and is now pitched into group company for the first time in the form of her life.
At with 12/1 with BetVictor, she is one to consider each-way alongside the unexposed and lightly-raced Alexana for William Haggas who can be backed at the same price.
Dramatic Queen also represents that stable here and returned to action in France over an inadequate distance.
She struggled to go the pace over 1m 2f at Longchamp, so the extra half-a-mile of this is much more to her tastes.
This Kitten’s Joy filly rounded off last season with back-to-back victories, stepping into Listed company on the all-weather at Lingfield when running on strongly to score by a length in the River Eden Stakes.
As that race was over 1m 5f and the re-opposing Altra Vita was over three lengths down in fifth, Dramatic Queen has nothing to fear from that rival now meeting again off level weights.
If putting a line through her reappearance run which she should strip fitter for anyway, then it’s Dramatic Queen who may be the best each-way bet at 8/1 with 888Sport should one of the top rated fillies fail to fire.