Soprano aiming to hit high note in Star Stakes

Soprano is set to make a belated return to the track at Sandown on Thursday when she takes on nine rivals in the European Bloodstock News EBF Star Stakes.

The George Boughey-trained filly, who was third in the Albany at Royal Ascot, was due to run in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, but missed that engagement due to a medication mix-up at home.

The daughter of Starspangledbanner will now be upped to seven furlongs for the first time, as long as the Sandown ground is suitable, with jockey William Buick maintaining the partnership.

Harry Herbert, managing director of owner Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “She will go to Sandown unless the ground turns very soft or something – I wouldn’t want to run her on very soft ground.

“She has such a beautiful action but we do think a trip up to seven furlongs would really suit her, so it makes sense at this stage. Then we will see where we stand.

“On ratings she’d be miles clear of everything else, but like all these races, they deserve to attract horses like Shuwari, Fallen Angel and Expensive Queen – they are horses who could be anything.

“Ratings don’t mean an awful lot at this stage, it is more what lurks in the once-raced fillies.”

The current ground conditions at the Esher track are described as good, although further scattered showers are expected over the next 48 hours.

Should she fail to make the line-up, connections also have the option of sending her to Ascot on Saturday for the Group Three Bateaux Princess Margaret Stakes.

That race is over six furlongs, however, and Herbert feels she will be better off over further.

“We will take it one step at a time,” he said. “If she were to be successful on Thursday, we would be looking at races possibly like the Moyglare in Ireland, you have got the Newmarket race over seven, a Group Two (Rockfel Stakes).

“Going over seven furlongs was pretty much the chat from William Buick at Royal Ascot. He said that if the pace had been better, she probably would have gone pretty close, but definitely he felt she was crying out to go further.

“She is a lovely filly, with plenty of size and scope to her, so she should get better as she gets older. She is a gorgeous filly and it is exciting to see her back on the track.”

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