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Yorkshire Oaks form tested in Princess Royal as Alpinista and Franconia clash

2.25 Newmarket
Princess Royal Muhaarar Stakes (Group 3) | 1m4f | 3yo+ fillies & mares | ITV4/RTV

There is one standout piece of form in this Group 3 contest. Alpinista brings Group 1 form to the table courtesy of her five-length second to superstar Love in the Yorkshire Oaks last time.

That looks good on paper, but it's definitely fair to question whether that form is as good as it appears. Alpinista was no match for the winner and second favourite Franconia, the biggest danger to Love going into that race, failed to show her form when trailing tailed off in last.

The third-placed One Voice has since beaten only two home in the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh and Alpinista was only a couple of lengths in front of her. That’s another negative.

Franconia had achieved more than Alpinista going into that race. The John Gosden-trained filly had previously beaten subsequent Listed winner Gold Wand in a Listed race over 1m2½f at York in July when she shaped as though she was in need of this longer trip.

Gosden has saddled four of the last eight winners of this race and there probably won’t be much between the two Frankel fillies Alpinista and Franconia if they both run their race.

Frankel’s progeny often handle cut in the ground but the third of the sire’s runners in this race, Queen Daenerys, probably needs rain to slow the others down. She looked a strong stayer when winning over a mile and three-quarters in France last time and drops in trip.

If the forecast rain arrives, Antonia De Vega could prove the biggest danger. 

The Ralph Beckett-trained four-year-old has recorded her three highest Racing Post Ratings on soft ground and loves it when the mud is flying.

What They Say
William Haggas, trainer of Sea Of Faith
She did it well at Saint-Cloud. It's absolutely not ideal to run her back so quickly [after six days] but it is down the road. She's been fine so far and provided she canters okay in the morning before racing then she'll take her chance and I hope she’ll run well. There are very few opportunities for her.

Sir Mark Prescott, trainer of Alpinista
On the handicap ratings she just wins, she just scrambles home. The Salisbury race rather fell apart with defections on very fast ground and the tactics there were right. Behind Love the tactics were reversed to try and make sure that we got second if at all possible. I suppose the formlines might just flatter her a little bit, though I hope not. They were days when everything went right. 

John Gosden, trainer of Franconia
She wasn't in love with the loose ground at York last time so hopefully this surface will be better for her and she has been working nicely on the Al Bahathri lately.

Roger Varian, trainer of Queen Daenerys
I don't think the drop back in trip is a concern on this galloping track and she’s run well on every start over the Rowley Mile. It looks a warm race but she's won her Listed race so she’s got to contest these type of races. She liked the faster ground and it’s why we’re running. If you leave it too deep into October, I could see all the suitable options for her being run on testing ground. We'll get her out again while the ground is decent and she ought to run well.

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