Royal Ascot heroine Agrotera steps up in class for hat-trick bid

Smarkets / British EBF Dick Hern Stakes (Listed) | 3yo+ | 1m | ITV4/RUK

Agrotera has a deserved first crack at black type after her impressive win in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot.

The three-year-old justified strong support and favouritism in style that day and, encouragingly, her age group have won every running bar one of this race since it was switched from Bath in 2011.

Before the royal meeting she had accounted for subsequent winner Four White Socks when landing her maiden at Windsor and looks sure to take the beating, although she will be encountering very different ground.

More recently she was a late absentee for a return trip to Ascot last month.

Trainer Ed Walker said: "Agrotera is in good form and just wasn't ready for Ascot and the Valiant Stakes the other day.

"She's a big filly and I backed off her plenty after she won at Royal Ascot to give her time to get over it. I probably left her alone too much, but I think she's ready now to get back on track.

"This was always the plan and it's a lovely lead-up for a filly who can get on her toes. At Ascot she was great in the pre-parade ring, but it got to her a little bit in the paddock."

Yuga Kawada has a nice-looking ride on the ex-German-trained filly Narella, who was having her first start for Roger Varian when finishing eighth in the Listed Coral Distaff last month.

Kawada, on a working holiday from Japan, rode his first winner in Britain for Varian at Redcar last week and is having his first ride at Haydock.

Varian said: "Narella is in good form. She found the ground a bit quick at Sandown and any rain would be a plus."

Black-type for Frankel filly La Figlia would make her a very valuable commodity – as it is she cost €1.8 million as a foal when sold at auction in Ireland in 2014. The first foal of 1,000 Guineas winner Finsceal Beo, she scored on her first start for Peter Chapple-Hyam at Chelmsford last month.

Previously with Jeremy Noseda, the four-year-old has had a crack at this level before, finishing fourth over a mile at Newmarket last October.

Chapple-Hyam said: "La Figlia is in good order and the plan after Chelmsford was to get some black type. She should be okay with the trip and has some form on soft ground if the rains arrive." 

What they say

Hugo Palmer, trainer of Unforgetable Filly
She wouldn't want too much rain. James Doyle was kicking himself as he thought he should have won last time but this time her draw isn't the best.

Richard Fahey, trainer of Maggies Angel
She's a twilight horse and finding it difficult to win. We’re stepping her up to a mile, although we’re not sure it's what she wants. There are very few races for her though and it’s worth a try.

Clive Cox, trainer of Shepherd Market
She's up to this level and would appreciate any rain. If they get some she'd have an each-way chance.