Jessica Harrington believes One Voice will be suited by stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time when she clashes with dual Classic heroine Love in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on Thursday 20th August.
The £250,000 feature forms part of the Fillies & Mares category of the QIPCO British Champions Series and the past three renewals have produced exceptional winners in Enable (2017 and 2019) and Sea Of Class (2018).
Many expect Love to join the race’s roll of honour and in the process provide Aidan O’Brien with a fifth win in the race. The chestnut daughter of Galileo was an emphatic winner of the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on her return in June and then beat her stablemate, Ennistymon, by nine lengths in the Investec Oaks at Epsom last time.
However, One Voice looks a worthy adversary after a narrow defeat at the hands of Prix de Diane (French Oaks) winner Fancy Blue over a mile and a quarter in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last month, when the pair pulled clear of Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes winner Nazeef.
She had previously looked an unlucky loser in the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at The Curragh when meeting trouble in running.
Harrington said: “We were delighted with One Voice’s run in the Nassau and she came out of the race really well. Fancy Blue had beaten my filly [Alpine Star] in the Prix de Diane in and so we kind of had a bit of a line, and we felt our filly would improve again for going up in trip, which she did.
“The time before, at The Curragh, it was one of those stupid things. She got into a pocket and couldn’t get out, so we put a line through that. She didn’t have a hard race and that’s why we went from there to Goodwood.
“She’s a filly that has improved all year and her pedigree suggests she should be even better over a mile and a half. I know it’s a big ask with Love in there but you have to try. Tom [Marquand] got on well with her at Goodwood and I’m delighted to use him again.”
One Voice was part-owned by Harrington at the start of this year but now races in the colours of Craig Bernick, who lives in Florida and Kentucky.
She said: “Craig has horses in Ireland with Fozzy Stack and bought her off me at the beginning of February. It’s the first horse he’s had with me. He’s a big racing enthusiast and has a good few horses and mares in America.”
Harrington has enjoyed great success in Britain over jumps and on the Flat, but ten previous runners at York have failed to yield a success. “It’s a box that has got to get ticked,” she said with a smile. “I’ve still got plenty of those.”
Like O’Brien, John Gosden is seeking a fifth Yorkshire Oaks success and he relies on Frankly Darling and Franconia, two daughters of Frankel. Frankly Darling won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June but was a distant third to Love in the Oaks, having gone off at 7/4. Connections are adamant she did not handle the track. Franconia steps up in trip and class after landing Listed races over ten furlongs at Newbury and York this summer.
There is a third Frankel filly in the six-runner line-up in the shape of the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Alpinista. She makes a swift reappearance after winning last week’s Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury in clear-cut fashion.
Manuela De Vega, trained by Ralph Beckett, finished a close fourth in last year’s Investec Oaks and is unbeaten in two starts this term. She easily won the Group 2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock Park on her latest start, having earlier landed the Betway Pinnacle Stakes at the same venue.
Photo: Ian Yates www.eyewhy.co.uk