It has paid to be ridden more patiently in recent renewals of the Yorkshire Oaks, though Enable broke the mould last year when making all to win by five lengths. She was much the best horse in the race, though, and received a no-nonsense ride from Frankie Dettori. The pace map below suggests that likely outsiders Bye Bye Baby and Flattering will force the pace, which should ensure a solid gallop for the principals and hopefully set up a fair race.
The short-priced favourite Sea of Class has been held up in all four of her starts by jockey James Doyle, earning an Early Position Figure (EPF) of either 4 or 5. She has proved most progressive in her short career so far, only making her debut in April, but winning a couple of listed races over a mile and a quarter and the Irish Oaks over two furlongs further at the Curragh last time. Sea of Class seemingly won with a bit in hand at the Curragh, given a very confident ride by Doyle, who made steady headway in the straight down the outside to deliver her perfectly on the line, not having to pick up his stick. Clearly she is a very talented filly, who should have even more to offer, and given that three-year-olds have won the last four renewals, she commands plenty of respect.
Fellow three-year-old Laurens has also gone from strength to strength this season, finishing second in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on her return, and going on to win her last two starts at the highest level, in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp and the Prix de Diane at Chantilly, respectively. She is versatile in regards to riding style, having made the running when successful in the past, but she will likely be ridden with more restraint here on her first start at a mile and a half. This longer trip promises to suit on pedigree, though – dam a winner over a mile and three quarters – and this race has been on the target since her win in the Prix Diane.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Magic Wand makes up the list of interesting three-year-olds, despite having proved inconsistent this year. She has looked smart on occasions, particularly when winning the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot by four lengths from subsequent Nassau Stakes winner Wild Illusion. Magic Wand has recorded an EPF figure of 1 for both of her wins this season, meaning she made the running, and it will be interesting if connections will revert to more positive tactics here after her disappointing performance in the Irish Oaks last time; she is a player on the pick of her form, but the O’Brien yard are still operating below their usual high level at present.
Coronet boasts a good record over C&D, finishing runner-up to Enable in this race 12 months ago and making a winning reappearance in the Middleton Stakes in May by one and a half lengths from Horseplay. She has been far from disgraced up against the colts on her last two starts, finishing second in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at Saint-Cloud (nose behind Waldgeist), and third to Poet's Word in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last time. Admittedly, she wasn’t at her best at Ascot, but she seems to be suited by the long straight here, and looks the leading older horse in the race. Coronet should get a good toe into the race – she normally sits mid-field during her races – and she looks the biggest danger to Sea of Class on form.
Horseplay has since gone on to win the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock, boosting the form of the Middleton, and should give another good account, but she will likely prove vulnerable in this line-up.
Eziyra proved in no uncertain terms that she retains all of her ability when winning the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown on return from 11 months off a fortnight ago, displaying a nice turn of foot in the straight. This may come soon enough, but she looked ready for the return to Group 1 company that day, and she could have even more to offer. She is another likely to be ridden more patiently judged on her more recent EPFs, and shouldn’t be dismissed with William Buick an interesting jockey booking.
Both Bye Bye Baby and Flattering are likely pacemakers here, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Aidan O’Brien’s other representative Magic Wand be ridden more positively, too. However, the form of the yard is a slight concern at present, and both Coronet and Sea of Class make more appeal. The latter has an attractive profile and is proving very progressive, but this represents a sterner challenge now tackling her elders for the first time, and Coronet has some solid form to her name. Her record over C&D further strengthens her claims and she looks the one to be with at the prices.
Back Coronet at 7/1 in the Yorkshire Oaks at York on Thursday