As the Ebor Festival rolls on to Thursday, the Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks takes centre stage on the Knavesmire.
The second of four British Champions Series races and the second Group 1 at York this week, the fillies and mares get their turn to show some of their own Yorkshire grit.
For Frankie Dettori, having ridden four winners in this race, the veteran will be keen to sign off in style at Ebor, and Free Wind is his big hope.
Riding the Wind
Initially, Dettori’s decision for who to ride in Thursday’s Yorkshire Oaks was not an easy one.
However, after both Epsom Oaks winner Soul Sister and Coronation Cup victor Emily Upjohn opted out, it was clear sailing.
As the 52-year-old continues on his swansong tour, Dettori looks to snag another Group 1 this summer.
A real gusty performance! 💪
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) May 18, 2023
Free Wind may not have the best of form after disappointing runs at Glorious Goodwood and Royal Ascot, but York is a track she very much likes.
A winner of the Middleton at the start of the flat season, the 5yo would also relish a return to good ground, which is currently slated for Thursday.
With three wins in similar conditions and with victory over a preferred trip in her only run last term, Free Wind might be timing things perfectly.
O’Brien, Varian threats
As another contest has seen its field sizeably reduced, 10 runners go to post on Thursday.
In the antepost, Savethelastdance may well jump off the favourite for Aidan O’Brien.
Just one blot stands on the 3yo filly’s card – June’s loss to Soul Sister – but save for that, it’s been a 100% record this season.
With both the Cheshire and Irish Oaks in the youngster’s nose bag, the 1m4f distance looks to be her wheel-house.
There is just, though, the slightest question of capability on the good.
Bluestocking, the runner-up to Savethelastdance at the Curragh last time out, also lines up to take revenge.
On the heels of a hugely impressive 2023, Ralph Beckett still waits to see her first win of the campaign.
As Rossa Ryan jumps on board, can the star of Amo Racing have some magic rub off?
Of the leading contenders, perhaps though, Al Husn is the one to watch closely.
Arguably, silent assassin Roger Varian might fancy his chances of a big win more than the other three trainers.
Dropping into York with three wins on the bounce, in the last eight contests, the 4yo has been beaten just once – the Dahlia Stakes.
If punters can shop around, a 7/1 price can still be had.
A winner in all conditions, the step-up in trip shouldn’t prove too much of an issue. Al Husn looks to be real value.