Novakai stamps class on Aphrodite field

Novakai could be set for immediate return to Group One level after stamping her class on the Ric And Mary Hambro Aphrodite Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.

Second to Commissioning in last season’s Fillies’ Mile, Karl Burke’s inmate kicked off her three-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish to subsequent Oaks heroine Soul Sister in the Musidora at York.

Novakai disappointed in her Classic bid in the French Oaks, but was the 5-2 favourite to get back on track in Listed company on the July Course.

Ridden by Sam James, the Lope De Vega filly could be called the winner a long way from home as she moved powerfully to the front.

Cloudbreaker came from the rear to throw down her challenge, but Novakai was away and gone entering the final furlong and had just under five lengths in hand at the line.

“She has won that well and I’m very happy with her. She loved that step up in trip and I think we can go back up to Group class again now,” said Burke.

“Early on in the year Sheikh Obaid was keen for her to try a mile and a quarter and target the Prix de Diane.

“I’m not sure it was the distance why she ran so poorly but she wasn’t on song and it could have been down to the travelling. She is a little bit quirky, but her temperament is lovely.

“After that Sheikh Obaid gave me free rein with her so I decided to step her up in trip. She is out of a stout staying mare and she was always going to improve going up in trip and she has proved that today.”

The winner holds entries in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Yorkshire Oaks, but Burke will not rush into a decision.

He went on: “She is in the Yorkshire Oaks and whether that is too big of a jump I’m not sure but we will get her home and have a chat with Sheikh Obaid.

“I’m hoping I can persuade Sheikh Obaid to leave her in training next year as she will only improve and there are some nice staying races for fillies like her.”

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