The Listed Weatherbys ePassport Cheshire Oaks (for the Robert Sangster Memorial Cup) has a rich roll of honour with subsequent Classic winners Light Shift, Bolas and Lupe just some of the winners, yet this race has notably been used as a stepping stone to further big-race success by a remarkably high number of fillies in recent seasons.
The brilliant Enable – one of the greatest racemares of recent times – did the business in 2017 and the daughter of Nathaniel used the race as a springboard for 11 Group One triumphs, including three renewals of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and successive victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
How will Enable fare as a broodmare? John Gosden speaks to David Yates
Of other winners in recent years, 2015 victor Diamondsandrubies went on to land Group One honours in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, while 2018 winner Magic Wand - a Galileo half-sister to Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita – subsequently landed the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Mackinnon Stakes in Australia and finished second in another eight top-level contests. Forever Together finished behind Magic Wand at Chester three years ago and went on to win the Oaks at Epsom.
Other notable fillies to triumph in the Roodee race in the last few seasons also include Somehow, the sadly ill-fated Fastnet Rock filly who would take the Dahlia Stakes and finish second in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at four. The 2019 scorer Mehdaayih would also go on to take Group 2 honours and finish runner-up at Group One level, landing the Prix de Malleret before finishing second in the Nassau Stakes.
Could the latest running of the Cheshire Oaks contain another future star on Wednesday? The pedigrees of the seven declared runners certainly suggest there could be, with two contenders out of Group One winners and another a sibling to a Classic victor.
Darlectable You was pipped on the line last time under Frankie Dettori at Newbury
Darlectable You is by Dubawi out of Dubai Sheema Classic heroine Dar Re Mi, making her a full sister to dual-champion Too Dar Hot, St Leger runner-up Lah Ti Dar and Musidora Stakes scorer So Mi Dar. The filly is trained by John and Thady Gosden and has finished runner-up on both of her starts so far.
Nicest is a Leopardstown maiden winner and finished fifth in the Flame Of Tara Stakes last season. The Donnacha O’Brien-trained filly is by US Triple Crown laureate American Pharoah out of the aforementioned Chicquita, making her a close relation to former Cheshire Oaks winner Magic Wand.
Listed-placed La Joconde, trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore-Westerberg partnership, is by Frankel out of the winning Cape Cross mare Wadyhatta, making her a half-sister to last year’s Irish Derby hero Santiago.
Perennial champion sire Galileo is represented in this year’s race by Ahandfulofsummers, who is out of the Group 3-winning Oratorio mare Scream Blue Murder. Fillies’ Mile fourth Dubai Fountain is by Galileo’s high-achieving son Teofilo and is related to Godolphin Group One winners Dubai Destination and Librettist. Quenelle D’Or is by Golden Horn, and her great granddam is a half-sister to Lord Derby’s wonderful racemare Ouija Board.
See how Zeyaadah signed off an unbeaten juvenile campaign in the Listed Montrose Fillies' Stakes
The unbeaten Zeyaadah is the likely favourite for this year’s race, and victory would be poignant in the silks of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. The Roger Varian-trained filly is by Tamayuz out of an Act One half-sister to Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Suez, the dam of Fillies’ Mile winner Lyric Of Light.
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