Trainer William Haggas is positive a slight drop in class might help Frankellina open her account for the season in the Lyric Fillies’ Stakes at York on Friday. The daughter of Frankel was a neck runner-up over course and distance in the Musidora Stakes in May before taking sixth in the Oaks at Epsom the following month.
She then occupied the same berth at Royal Ascot in the Ribblesdale Stakes later in the month, with both races coming over a mile and a half. The filly now drops in grade and represents a Haggas team in fine fettle, with a 24 per cent strike-rate from 37 runners in the preceding fortnight.
Soft ground at Ascot last month likely wasn’t in Frankellina’s favour and Haggas sees Tom Marquand’s mount bouncing back on the Knavesmire. “She’s dropping in trip after the Ribblesdale,” said Haggas. “She’s fine and has been doing very well at home. It looks a nice race for her.”
A field of six will contest the Listed prize, with Andrew Balding’s Encapsulation joining the James Fanshawe-trained Kirstenbosch in forming the front of the market alongside Frankellina. Formerly trained in Ireland by Noel Meade, Encapsulation was a narrow second at Listed level at Sandown at the start of the month on first start for her new trainer.
“She ran well at Sandown last time and the step back up in trip will suit,” said Balding. “I’m pleased with her and she’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Kirstenbosch is 2-2 so far although her trainer admits she’s going into deeper waters after wins at Redcar and on Chelmsford’s all-weather track. “She’s won two mediocre races very well,” said Fanshawe.
“It’s a big step up in class but she’s been working nicely and will hopefully run well. She is a very good mover and couldn’t have won her last race any easier.” Encapsulation shades favouritism at 2.63 for the Lyric Stakes at York, with Frankellina 3.50 and Kirstenbosch 4.33.