There was a surprise winner of the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York on Friday, though there didn't seem to be any fluke about it, and in pulling five lengths clear of the rest with the one that set the pre-race standard, Mystic Dawn (up 15 lb to 110) put up a smart effort. Queen Kindly (remains on 110) benefited from the step back up in trip and belatedly confirmed she's trained on, back to the sort of form that saw her win the Lowther last year.
A steady pace was the most notable feature of Saturday’s John Smith's Cup and the result was a rather messy race in which plenty weren't seen to best effect. Ballet Concerto (up 5 lb to 115) has built up a good record in these competitive handicaps, successful in the Spring Mile and fourth in the Hunt Cup previously this year, and he added this big pot trying 1¼m for only the second time. He was badly hampered when tried in pattern company before and has earned another crack at that sort of level this autumn, although no doubt some of the other valuable handicaps will be on his radar too, with the Cambridgeshire an obvious target. Big Country (now 111) hadn't got home in a strongly-run Old Newton Cup a week earlier, but bounced back returned to the C&D over which he'd won last month; he's likely to be given a short break now to freshen up for an autumn campaign and might not have finished improving yet. Mistiroc (up 4 lb to 109) proved better than ever to be placed in this valuable handicap, though he was very well positioned in a muddling race, while UAE Prince (now 108) ran well back in handicap company after a nine-week break. Of the others, Garcia (down 1 lb to 107p) had reportedly been kept off the track with a few small issues, but has come right now and shaped well after 10 months off, looking suited by the 2f longer trip; he boasts some strong three-year-old form as well and remains open to improvement.
Elsewhere, the Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot was a good opportunity for last year's winner Mutakayyef (remains on 126) down in grade, the Group 2 not really up to scratch overall, and he took it with some ease despite giving the enterprisingly ridden runner-up a head start. Unfortunately the winner finished lame, with plans on hold as the extent of any injury is assessed.
Over at the Curragh, Actress (up 11 lb to 105) showed much improved form to spring a mild surprise in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes. She is now two from two at the track and is likely to stay 7f on this evidence. Caspian Prince (up 2 lb to 119) won the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes, which had just six runners for the third year in a row. He snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a race where everything else underperformed for one reason or another. Marsha (down 1 lb to 126) narrowly failed to capitalise on the drop in grade, denied on the nod having done a bit too much in the early stages; she’s the type to bounce back quickly.
The latest renewal of the Irish Oaks revolved around Epsom winner Enable (124p) and she certainly didn't disappoint, becoming the first filly since Snow Fairy to complete the double in authoritative fashion. Her performance was even more meritorious given that an ordinary early pace placed the emphasis more on speed than stamina; she will be hard to beat wherever she goes next, be that the King George in two weeks’ time, or as is reportedly more likely, the Yorkshire Oaks next month where she will get to take on her elders for the first time. Rain Goddess (also unchanged, on 112) found only one too good at this level for the second start in a row, the 2f longer trip clearly no problem to her, while Eziyra (up from 103+ to 107) ran about as well as could have been expected upped in grade. Coronet (108) wasn't in the same form as last time, a hard race in the Ribblesdale perhaps to blame, but as at Epsom didn't go with much fluency; it would be no great surprise if she were to be tried in headgear at some point.