Noon Star and Teona clash in fascinating Musidora
Sir Michael Stoute’s filly is certainly bred for next month’s Epsom showpiece, being a daughter of the brilliant Derby hero Galileo and top-class racemare Midday, who was beaten a head by Sariska in the Oaks in 2009.
Noon Star, owned and bred by the late Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation, has won two of her three starts to date – most recently impressing on her three-year-old debut in a novice event at Wetherby two and a half weeks ago.
If you breed Galileo to Midday, you're expecting and hoping to end up at Epsom in early June
With that form having been boosted by the subsequent Lingfield success of the fourth home Sherbet Lemon, Stoute’s charge is a general 8-1 shot for the Oaks on June 4, but will face a thorough examination at York, with Oaks second-favourite Teona among her rivals.
Teddy Grimthorpe, Juddmonte’s racing manager, said: “If you breed Galileo to Midday, you’re expecting and hoping to end up at Epsom in early June. That would be the aim of anyone, but obviously she’s got to prove that she’s a worthy candidate.
“Midday won twice at York – she won the Middleton Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks. She was only narrowly beaten by Twice Over in the Juddmonte International.”
Noon Star is one of two Juddmonte-owned runners in an eight-strong field along with John and Thady Gosden’s Senita, who wears a hood for the first time after finishing a disappointing last of seven on her seasonal debut at Newbury.
“She’s a work in progress really. She didn’t put it together at all at Newbury and was a little bit awkward throughout,” Grimthorpe added.
“John has always had a good opinion of her and this is a fact-finding mission to see where we are with her, but she does have talent.
“This will give us a good idea of where we are with both fillies – this is what these trials are for really.
“Sometimes you get surprised and sometimes you get disappointed.”
Roger Varian’s Teona makes her turf debut following two outings on the all-weather at Newcastle, finishing second on debut before bolting up by nine lengths on her second start in November.
Like Noon Star, Teona is also bred in the purple – being by Derby winner Sea The Stars out of Ambivalent, who won the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland and the Group Two Middleton Stakes at York for the same connections.
Varian said: “She looks a very nice filly at home and we’ve always held her in high regard.
“She’s taken a while to come to herself this spring and I should think the run will bring her forward. That said, her last few weeks of training have been very pleasing.
We like her a lot - it's well publicised, I think, the regard which we hold her in
“She’s a big, rangy filly. I trained her mother, who also took a while to come to hand, and Teona was never going to be a summer two-year-old – she’s all about this year and beyond.
“We like her a lot – it’s well publicised I think, the regard which we hold her in.
“This is a nice starting point and a lovely place to start. If she doesn’t win it’s not the end of the world, but we’d expect her to run well.”
Mystery Angel steps back up to Pattern class after impressing in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket 10 days ago.
While the Nick Bradley Racing-owned filly is not currently entered in the Oaks, connections may consider supplementing should she come up trumps on the Knavesmire.
“She’s a filly who takes her racing very well and we’ll give it a good shot on Wednesday,” said trainer George Boughey.
“We’ll take it one step at a time. I’d say this is as good an Oaks trial as there is, on the pedigrees and the reputations of the two horses in front of us in the market (Noon Star and Teona).
“She would need to be supplemented for the Oaks, which costs the best part of £25,000. I think she would have to win at York to be considered for Epsom, I would say.
“She’s been a star for us and hopefully there’s more to come.”
The sole Irish challenger is Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore.
The jockey told Betfair: “This Deep Impact filly maybe didn’t quite progress as expected from her maiden win, though she faced some tough tasks in Group One company. This trip is more in keeping with her pedigree, and I expect her to improve for it.
“There is nothing in here boasting a scary level of form as it stands, though Noon Star is a very promising filly and one I like, and she is race-fit, as is the Newmarket winner Mystery Angel. And Newcastle winner Teona is already second-favourite for the Oaks, I see.”
Aura (Andrew Balding), Glenartney (Ed Walker) and Quiet Assassin (Adrian Keatley) are the other contenders.