Bluestocking showed enough in her performance at Royal Ascot last week to put herself in the picture for a tilt at the Juddmonte Irish Oaks later this month.
An impressive winner on her sole juvenile start at Salisbury, Ralph Beckett’s filly was being considered for the Betfred Oaks at Epsom prior to her narrow defeat by Warm Heart on her reappearance in a Listed contest at Newbury last month.
With the daughter of Camelot still showing signs of inexperience, the decision was made to bypass Epsom in favour of a tilt at the Ribblesdale Stakes – but while she again ran well in defeat, this time she was beaten almost four lengths into third place by the reopposing Warm Heart.
Barry Mahon, racing manager for owner-breeders Juddmonte, is of the opinion there should be more to come from Bluestocking and she could now head for the Curragh on July 22 in a bid for Classic glory.
“I was absolutely delighted with how Bluestocking ran,” he said.
“We saw how green she was in Newbury and Frankie (Dettori) said she was still a bit green the other day – he said it took her a bit of time to get used to the hustle and bustle of having horses around her.
“She then settled into a lovely rhythm and fell asleep under him. He tried to wake her up again coming round the bend and it just took her half a furlong too long to get into top gear. With a few horses coming back on top of her, she just couldn’t get competitive, but you’d love the way she hit the line.”
Considering future plans, Mahon added: “I think if she’s fit and well we’ll definitely consider the Irish Oaks. The fractions suggest they went very slowly at Ascot and I think a strongly-run mile and a half will be more her cup of tea.
“The Curragh would suit her and if we got a little bit of rain between now and then all the better.”
While Bluestocking and St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up Chaldean had to make do with minor honours, Juddmonte did get on the Royal Ascot winner’s board with Coppice in the Sandringham Stakes.
John and Thady Gosden’s filly was supplementing a comfortable victory at Newcastle, having previously failed to fire in the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket, and the success came as no surprise to Mahon.
He said: “It was a great performance. We started the year with high hopes – as Frankie alluded to after she won we thought she was a Guineas filly in the spring, but for obvious reasons she was just slow to come to hand.
“John and Thady went the patient route and it paid off. It was nice to get the winner on the board and she’s definitely an exciting filly for the remainder of the year.
“I don’t really know where she’ll go. The Falmouth would be a big step and if Laurel gets over her little setback in time that’s where she’ll go, all going well.
“For Coppice it would be nice to get black type with her, so we could look at a Listed race or a Group Three with her to get some black type in the bank.”
The Juddmonte team did suffer a couple of notable disappointments at the Royal meeting, with Arrest and Covey both performing below expectations.
Arrest was bidding to bouncing back from a Derby no-show in the King Edward VII Stakes, but finished fifth of sixth, while Covey was a well-beaten favourite in the Jersey.
“We were worried about the ground for Arrest, we took a chance and it didn’t pay off. We’ll freshen him up and bring him back for an autumn campaign when there’s a bit of juice in the ground,” Mahon added.
“I was a little disappointed with Covey, he ran a little too free, Frankie just said he ran with the choke out the whole way.
“I think he’s definitely a better horse than we saw the other day and what came out of it is that on a straight track he just tends to over-race a little bit.
“He can still be a nice horse, but maybe he needs to go around a bend.”