MOONEISTA (112) was denied a repeat win in the Group 2 Sapphire as she found Ladies Church a short head too strong in the finish after travelling smoothly to the lead passing the furlong marker.

The eye was drawn to Jack Davison’s filly so well was she moving, although in behind her Ladies Church (112) was going equally as well, only having to challenge from further back as Ben Coen switched off heels to secure a clear passage.

The daughter of Churchill clocked a closing sectional of 36.64secs from the course intersection, which was respectable on the day although probably best used to highlight the performance of Little Big Bear (113+) and Benitoite who were faster than Johnny Murtagh’s filly.

The form of Little Big Bear’s Windsor Castle Stakes victory has been working out well with Chateau adding his name to the list of winners at Newbury on Friday. On Saturday, Aidan O’Brien’s colt continued his rise through the ranks with an easy success in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes, looking every inch a Group 1 horse in the process.

Ryan Moore kept it simple on the odds-on favourite, breaking smartly and taking the direct route to the winning line without seeking cover. After travelling smoothly, the son of No Nay Never forged clear, with his ever-widening winning margin achieved through the final furlong as his rapid acceleration saw him cover the ground from the intersection of the courses in 36.17secs, 0.47secs (or four to five lengths) faster than Ladies Church.

As the finishing sectional was so fast, the performances of the first four home are all worthy of praise with Yosemite Valley (101), who clocked 36.25secs for her finishing split, filling out second place to build on the promising debut behind Slan Abhaile.

The fillies, Badb (99) and Slan Abhaile (99), will be of particular interest when competing against their own sex as they covered the ground from the intersection in 36.45secs and 36.40secs respectively. The former is vastly experienced and has form with Statuette, while the latter ran green before finishing strongly.

Hans Anderson (93) initiated a juvenile double for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore with a fluent success on his second racecourse experience. The son of Frankel made best use of breaking smartly, before finishing his race off 37.13secs. Al Riffa (90+) was the closer from the rear with Joseph O’Brien’s colt stopping the clock at 36.63secs for his finishing split. He looks a certain winner when stepping up in trip.

Prolific winner Mr Wagyu (95+) enhanced his Stewards Cup claims with a gritty display in the Scurry Handicap, leading out the main group in the centre of the track before hanging tough in front when challenged.

Although on the surface a closing sectional of 38.56secs looks disappointing, it shows John Quinn’s gelding keeps rolling off a fast pace. The contours of Goodwood will hold no fears as the seven-year-old won the Stewards Cup consolation race last year.

Big Gossey (95+) will remain of interest when running at the Curragh and I also made a note of Majestic Colt (90) with the backend of the season in mind given all of his best form is on soft ground.

To complete the data for the day, All Things Nice (75) posted the slowest time of the day in the nursery and clocked 37.55secs from the intersection of the courses.

Lagoon so strong late

on to land Irish Oaks

MAGICAL Lagoon (114+) demonstrated her tenacity in a finish once again on Saturday at the Curragh to gamely lift the Group 1 Juddmonte Irish Oaks for the presently unstoppable team of Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley.

The Galileo filly was tough at Ascot when landing the Ribblesdale Stakes and there were striking similarities in her latest performance as she answered her jockey’s every call, clocking a faster time figure in the process.

There appears no end to her stamina and the Yorkshire Oaks looks an ideal next target as the Knavesmire’s long straight will play to her strengths, especially if the opposition engage in a battle early.

Shane Foley sat closest to the pace throughout on Saturday, making his move towards the leader passing the four-furlong marker, safe in the knowledge his filly would gallop all the way to the line.

Initially, Ryan Moore looked to have the move covered aboard Toy (113) as he slipstreamed the winner. However, Aidan O’Brien’s filly was never closer than the half-length she was eventually beaten with Magical Lagoon looking to relish the battle.

A closing sectional of 36.26secs saw the winner home as the front two pulled clear, recording a 1.29secs faster finishing split than Extensio (90) who landed the only one other race on the round track, the Ladies Derby.

Toy lost little in defeat, vindicating Ryan Moore’s decision to stay loyal after she disappointed in the Prix de Diane and she may also head to York.

Another chance

I would also offer another chance to Emily Dickinson (109+), who was caught in the backwash of Fennela stumbling on the approach to the straight. The daughter of Dubawi looked a strong stayer when chasing home Rosscarbery at Leopardstown recently and will benefit from a return to further; she would be of interest if taking up her entry in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood.

Benitoite (95+) capped a fine day for Oaks winning connections, clocking a time figure to suggest she has a bright future ahead. Returning from an absence of 329-days, the daughter of Pivotal showed fine acceleration when the gaps opened for her as she stopped the clock for her closing sectional at 36.62secs.

Spring Feeling (94) kept on for second and requires another run for a handicap mark while Solar Breeze (93) can make her mark over a mile if settling better.