Cheveley Park Stud’s racing manager Chris Richardson is hopeful today’s Darley Yorkshire Oaks will mark the start of a change in fortune for Queen’s Trust.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner has endured a tough 2017 campaign so far, finishing fourth of four horses during May’s Betfred Middleton Stakes at York.
That was followed by another fourth-placed finish in June’s Prince Of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot, before the Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly again came home last earlier this month at Goodwood’s Nassau Stakes.
Nevertheless, owners Mr and Mrs Thompson — along with Stoute — have taken the decision to send the four-year-old back to the Knavesmire for this afternoon’s Group 1 feature.
And Richardson believes a return to 12 furlongs, coupled with the expected fast ground, should help Queen’s Trust to show the sort of form that helped her to glory at Santa Anita last November.
“She is a quality filly as we all know, but it has been a frustrating season for her,” he said.
“She was so very impressive on the quick ground at Santa Anita, but she has not had that sort since.
“Things have just conspired against. At York the ground was good to soft and while the ground was better at Ascot, she was up against some well thought of and proven colts.
“We knew Winter was going to be hard to beat at Goodwood, but she never looked like making an impression on the soft ground.
“It has been frustrating because it means we have not seen her at her best, but we are hopeful conditions will play into her favour at York.
“She has had no luck, but maybe that will change. If we get the right ground — which she deserves — Sir Michael is confident she run well.”
Queen’s Trust, who is set to have Champion Jockey Jim Crowley in the saddle with Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni booked up, will be one of five other horses looking to halt the Enable bandwagon.
John Gosden’s filly has been in scintillating form this year, but Richardson has refused to rule out an upset.
“Enable is such a fine horse, but you should never be frightened of just one individual,” he added.
“We have had no luck with Queen’s Trust, but that can change. If it does, you never know what might happen.
“It is a competitive sport and so you have to keep dreaming.”
Stoute has trained a joint-record nine Yorkshire Oaks winners, the last of which was Quiff in 2004.