Abingdon aimed at Oaks success
Abingdon gets the chance to build upon a hugely impressive seasonal reappearance at Pontefract in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old won three of her five starts in 2016, including Listed triumphs at Newbury and York.
She was a shade disappointing on her final outing of the campaign in the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster, but blew her rivals away by upwards of 10 lengths in West Yorkshire a fortnight ago.
Peter Reynolds, manager for owner-breeders Ballymacoll Stud, said: "She was impressive at Pontefract, but I'm not sure about what she beat.
"Ryan (Moore) said she was more ready than he expected that day, but you'd be hoping she'd improve from her first run to her second run.
"It was quick ground at Pontefract and her wins last year were on good to firm. I think she just wants genuine good ground.
"She won so easily the other day. It will be interesting to see how she goes on Saturday."
With Moore in action at Sandown, Richard Kingscote rides Abingdon.
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Stoute also saddles Dubka, runner-up in the Pinnacle Stakes over the course and distance last month.
John Gosden has claimed the Group Two six times and fires a formidable twin assault
in a bid to equal the late Sir Henry Cecil's record of seven winners.
The Black Princess has her first appearance since finishing second in the Middleton Stakes at York in May, while Hertford Dancer makes a swift return after finishing a fine third in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Hertford Dancer's owners, the Hertford Street Racing Club, said: "She's in great form following Ascot.
"She's an amazing filly and is giving the partnership a terrific run for their money.
"She's a remarkable individual. She's gone from a rating of 72 before she won the Lingfield Oaks Trial up to over 100 now and hopefully she's still heading north.
"Winning an Oaks trial, being a close-up third in the Ribblesdale and now heading to another Group Two is the stuff of dreams.
"Sir Michael's filly (Abingdon) will be a tough nut to crack, but Hertford Dancer is in good form and if she keeps on improving at the rate she has been then she'd have a chance of giving her hugely enthusiastic owners another big shout."
Roger Varian has his string in exceptional form and saddles Pinnacle Stakes third Ajman Princess.
The Newmarket handler told www.varianstable.com: Ajman Princess ran well to finish third over course and distance in the Pinnacle Stakes last month, but she found the ground too soft on that occasion and these underfoot conditions will suit her much better.
"She's in fine form and this has always been the target."
Ralph Beckett's Rich Legacy, the Ed de Giles-trained Lucy The Painter and Wilamina from Martyn Meade's stable make up the field.
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