Embrace should put the squeeze on Cecil

A James Fanshawe-trained filly can stake her claim for the Oaks by beating High Walden in the Musidora Stakes today

When it comes to staying power, a whole field full of St Leger winners would have nothing on two of the Flat's leading trainers. Season after season, back through more than two decades, Henry Cecil and Sir Michael Stoute have sat on top of the trainers' table and defied any upstarts to knock them off. Few have seriously tried, and even fewer succeeded, so much so that between them, Stoute and Cecil have won the trainers' championship 15 times in the last 24 years.

Only the emergence of Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor, champion three times in the last four years, has threatened to shift the balance of power on the British turf away from the Cecil-Stoute axis. When you are at the top of your profession, however, you remain a constant target, and Cecil must try to see off not one, but two, of our the brightest young trainers in the Musidora Stakes at York this afternoon. The prize for either James Fanshawe, who trains Embraced, or Jeremy Noseda, who saddles Kalypso Katie, would presumably be a run in the Oaks - for which the current favourite is Petrushka, trained by, yes, Sir Michael Stoute.

High Walden, who stayed on well to finish fifth in the 1,000 Guineas, will be an automatic choice for many punters today for two reasons: she is prepared by Cecil, and the race is the Musidora, which her trainer has won seven times since 1985. Reams Of Verse, who went on to win the Oaks, was his most recent winner three years ago, and High Walden is her three-parts sister.

Despite her pedigree, however, High Walden is not currently an Oaks entry, although she could be supplemented shortly before the race if her performance today is sufficiently impressive. Khaled Abdullah, her owner, could probably find the thousands of pounds required simply by fishing down the back of his sofa, but is still unlikely to run High Walden at Epsom for the sake of it. For her, today may be victory or bust as far as the Classic is concerned.

And if victory it is, it will surely be hard-won. Embraced and Kalypso Katie have three outings and as many wins between them, and Embraced in particular has caught the eye as a filly of immense potential, with a smooth success in a Listed race at Ascot 13 days ago in which she was going like the winner from the moment the stalls opened.

The only worry about today's race is that Embraced's outings to date have both been on a softish surface (the same, incidentally, is true of Kalypso Katie's solitary race). It is not their fault that the spring was one of the wettest in memory, however - it is for much the same reason that My Hansel, a 25-1 chance for Epsom, has not had a race before today - and Embraced (next best 3.10) appeals as the most interesting prospect in the Musidora field. The 14-1 available for the Classic this morning is also worth close inspection.

The handicaps which account for the remainder of the televised card will be run over a variety of distances, but in terms of quality, they are admirably consistent. The most interesting from a betting point of view is probably the 10-furlong event, in which Secret Agent, the favourite, looks very short at around 9-2. Trained by Stoute and ridden by Kieren Fallon he may be, but the top weight of 9st 7lb seems very harsh on the basis of what he has actually achieved so far.

DUCHAMP (nap 3.40), who will improve for his seasonal debut at Salisbury, is just as likely to develop into a decent handicapper, and is a much better morning price at 8-1. Another front-runner, Alberich (2.05), may be ready to win after a promising fifth in a well-contested race at Newmarket's Guineas meeting, while in the seven-furlong event, Queens Bench (2.35) has a fair chance, although a measure of the race's strength in depth is that Coral's early book has three co-favourites at 13-2.

Jimmy Quinn's licence to ride in Hong Kong was withdrawn until 1 July by the colony's jockey club yesterday following the vandalisation on Sunday of a car belonging to trainer Brian Kan, who sacked Quinn as his stable jockey earlier in the season. The attack occurred within the Sha Tin residential quarters for trainers and jockeys and was caught on camera.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss