View from connections ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet York Stakes.
Last Updated: 26/07/14 2:39pm
Secret Gesture (l) is in good shape for Saturday
View from connections ahead of Saturday's Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes.
Trainer Ralph Beckett is hopeful top-class filly Secret Gesture can finally enjoy her day in the sun as she aims to secure a first victory at Pattern level in Saturday's Skybet York Stakes.
Since finding only stable companion Talent too strong in last year's Investec Oaks at Epsom, Secret Gesture has been placed in the German Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks at Group One level.
She made an encouraging return to action when runner-up behind Ambivalent in the Middleton Stakes over this weekend's course and distance and having gained a confidence-boosting win in lesser company at Nottingham last month, she steps back up in class for York's Group Two feature.
Beckett said: "Secret Gesture is in good shape and the trip, track and ground should all suit.
"We decided to go for the York Stakes instead of the Nassau because at Goodwood it's likely that she would be taking on the fillies that have already beaten her.
"Saturday's race is a Group Two and she has been getting beaten up at Group One level all of her life.
"There's no Farraaj in there and, although it's full of nice horses, they are Group Two horses. I'm looking forward to running."
In two previous visits to the Knavesmire the Luca Cumani-trained Danadana has posted an impressive victory and a narrow defeat.
The five-year-old was last seen finishing third in Chester's Huxley Stakes in testing conditions and the form has been well advertised since by both the winner Noble Mission and the runner-up Telescope.
"Danadana is in good form. He hasn't run for a while but hopefully he is in good enough shape," said Cumani.
"He likes York and he likes fast ground, so hopefully he'll run a good race."
Godolphin launch a formidable three-pronged attack on the mile-and-a-quarter contest, with Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo Windhoek and Sharestan joined by Charlie Appleby's Long John.
Sharestan made a winning start to his season in Sandown's Brigadier Gerard Stakes, but was unable to make an impact when stepped up to a mile and a half in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot, finishing fifth behind Telescope.
Windhoek arrives on the back of an impressive victory in Sandown's Gala Stakes, while Long John was third in Ascot's Summer Mile a fortnight ago on his British debut.
Long John won last year's Caulfield Guineas when trained in Australia by Peter Snowden and won the UAE 2000 Guineas for Appleby earlier this year.
The trainer said: "We were delighted with Long John's first run back. He has definitely improved for the run and we are really looking forward to running him at York on Saturday.
"We are stepping up to 10 furlongs but on the evidence of his Ascot run, this should suit.
"He has tried the trip a couple of times in the past, in the Cox Plate when the jockey (Kerrin McEvoy) said he didn't handle the track and in the UAE Derby when he tried to come from off the pace on a night when the track was riding very slow and suiting those which raced up with the pace.
"I think that a flat 10 furlongs on perfect going will be ideal for him. He is a talented horse and goes there in good form. We are hoping for a good run from him."
One place behind Long John in fourth at Ascot was Producer, trained by Richard Hannon.
He told his website www.richardhannonracing.co.uk: "He has a bit to find with Long John on that last run, but he had previously got in the money in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot so, hopefully, he will again be in at the finish."
David Simcock fields last month's Newmarket winner Sheikhzayedroad.
Zambucca, trained by Gay Kelleway, completes the eight-strong field.