John Gosden’s filly Star Catcher, winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, is to be supplemented for Saturday’s Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
The impressive Sea The Stars offspring stretched out really well in the final two furlongs of the Group 2 contest to take care of Aidan O’Brien’s 7/4 favourite Fleeting by 1½ lengths, in the process becoming one of Frankie Dettori’s four wins on a memorable day at the Berkshire venue.
Given that he has been responsible for both Great Heavens and the unrivalled Enable, both of whom have won this race in recent years, trainer Gosden knows what it takes to score in this race and is set to add the Anthony Oppenheimer-owned bay to the line-up on Tuesday at a cost of €40,000.
The thinking appears to be that this is the last available race over a mile-and-a-half for three-year-old fillies only and so therefore its an ideal chance for Star Catcher to grab a Group 1 win given that she is still strengthening up and is not yet ready to take on the older fillies, or the colts for that matter.
By all reports she is going really well at home at Newmarket and will be a very live contender for the €400,000 contest, although no odds have been revealed by bookmakers at this stage.
Star Catcher would be having only the fifth race of her career to date having started off with an underwhelming performance at Chelmsford last December, though she has undoubtedly come on in leaps and bounds since then.
Her maiden was broken in April at Newbury under Frankie, though the rider also claimed responsibility for her defeat at the same track in May where she finished third in Listed company behind Queen Power, the Italian confirming that he should have made more use of her stamina and been closer to the lead.
She put all that right at Ascot however when landing the Ribblesdale, though the performance may be remembered best for being the third leg of Frankie’s fantastic four on the day, leading to the filly’s price having contracted from 10/1 down to 4/1 at the off.
Potential rivals at the weekend include a veritable battalion of O’Brien-trained runners, both Aidan and Joseph having top contenders including Fleeting, Pink Dogwood, Iridessa, Hermosa and Just Wonderful among many others.
English challengers may come in the form of Ralph Beckett’s Oaks fourth Manuela De Vega, David Elsworth’s Fred Darling winner Dandhu as well as the William Haggas-trained Frankellina who was second in the Musidora Stakes at York before going on to run sixth in both the Oaks and the Ribblesdale.
Whatever the size and shape of her rivals though, Star Catcher looks well placed to at least make a real go of it as a filly who is clearly on a sharp upward path, something synonymous with her stable and it seems she’ll be priced accordingly when odds are released.