O’Keeffe seeking More success
More Mischief bids to give weight and a beating to 12 rivals in what looks a fiercely competitive renewal of the Betbright Aphrodite Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
The daughter of Azamour provided trainer Jedd O'Keeffe with the first Listed success of his career when landing last month's Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle, also starring in a remarkable across-the-card four-timer on the day for the Leyburn-based handler.
She must carry a 3lb penalty on the July Course this weekend, but O'Keeffe is hopeful she can raise her game, with her Newcastle victory her first competitive appearance since last September.
"The penalty makes life difficult, but she's in really good form and we're looking forward to it," said the trainer.
"She's improved and progressed from four to five and given the race at Newcastle was her first run for quite some time, we're hoping she's improved a shade from that, although she was pretty fit.
"The ground is fine at the moment. I hope it doesn't tighten up too much, but fingers crossed we'll be all right.
"It's one of the most competitive fillies' Listed races we've seen for some time and it won't be easy to win, but we've got a chance."
The likely favourite for the mile-and-a-half contest is the Hugo Palmer-trained Apphia.
The lightly-raced filly was a 66-1 shot for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, but there was a lot to like about the way she came home to finish fifth.
Palmer said: "She ran a really promising race on her debut at Sandown and then won her maiden at Goodwood despite the race not being run to suit.
"She ended up a long way back in the Ribblesdale, but came home best of them all and has been put up 21lb for that run.
"She's been in great form at home since and the ground won't be an issue, so hopefully she's got a good chance in what looks a very competitive and open race."
Four lengths further back in ninth in the Ribblesdale was Roger Varian's Serenada, who had previously finished third in the Musidora Stakes at York.
Speaking on his website www.varianstable.com, the trainer said: "We probably made too much use of Serenada in the Ribblesdale Stakes and she is better than that form.
"This represents a drop in class and I think the ease in the ground will suit.
"She should be very competitive on the figures."
Other contenders include Ralph Beckett's Epsom Oaks sixth Isabel De Urbina, David Simcock's three-time winner High Hopes and Charlie Appleby's Godolphin runner Skiffle, who has been off the track since disappointing in the Dahlia Stakes on the Rowley Mile in early May.