Cecil keeps Oaks options open after Aviate flies in

Victory in Musidora Stakes leaves her trainer unsure whether to run filly or rival Timepiece at Epsom Classic

In the same way that pets are said to resemble their masters, it seems that horses trained by Henry Cecil can borrow something of his own character. Certainly the filly who won the big race here yesterday had class, charm and courage; what is more, she offered a quizzical sense of the delicate connection between prolonged, private preparations and these brief moments of public acclaim. In answering one question, that is to say, Aviate only asked several more. As she thrust her head in front, even as the judge's camera clicked, she might as well have tilted it to one side and winked.

Aviate is now unbeaten in three starts and one firm hailed her success in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes by making her 4-1 favourite for the Investec Oaks – recognising, in the process, that the race had seemed in urgent need of fresh focus. To Cecil himself, however, the Epsom picture had only become more perplexing.

The man who should know – this was his ninth Musidora winner, and he has already won the Oaks eight times – reiterated afterwards that he has long viewed Timepiece, beaten in her own rehearsal at Lingfield last Saturday, as a superior candidate. "On her home work, I thought she was one of the best Oaks prospects I've had since I started training," he confessed. "I don't know what went wrong at Lingfield. It was a funny sort of race, they went very fast and afterwards she did blow in an extraordinary way – hard, but short."

He has had her scoped and found nothing amiss. Both Aviate and Timepiece are owned by his long-standing patron, Prince Khalid Abdullah, and Cecil will make a judgement on what they show him between now and 4 June. "I expect one could run in the French Oaks, or at Royal Ascot, and the other at Epsom," he said. "We'll feel our way. I'm sure they'll both tell me where they should go."

The only certainty is that Cecil's chosen representative will surely run a mighty race at Epsom. For now Totesport keep Rumoush as 6-1 favourite, from Aviate on 8-1 and Timepiece on 10-1.

Previously raced over a mile, Aviate was short of room for much of the straight yesterday and only just ran down Gold Bubbles after Eddie Ahern squeezed her along the rail. Eleanora Duse achieved her mission, gaining third, but Bikini Babe did not see out the race as seemed likely when getting them all off the bridle two out.

Ahern was confident that Aviate would last the extra distance at Epsom, and Cecil was inclined to agree. "I only ran her here to see if she would stay this far," he said. "I thought she probably would, because there's a Nijinsky cross [on either side of her pedigree]. It's difficult to assess. She had nowhere to go for most of the race. She's decent. But we'll see about Epsom. Time will tell."

Cecil returns today with the filly who so nearly won him the Oaks last year, Midday, in the Totesport Middleton Stakes. Her subsequent success at the Breeders' Cup requires Midday to concede 5lb to Sariska, who beat her in a photo at Epsom after herself impressing in the Musidora.

Sariska went on to win the Irish Oaks, as well, and did rather better than was realised at the time when turned over at 4-11 back at the Ebor meeting here. (The winner, Dar Re Mi, has since posted world-class performances in France, California and Dubai.) Her brawny physique entitles Sariska to flourish anew this term, but her connections are eager to see rain and Midday (2.10) is arguably most effective at this trip.

The big race on the card, however, remains the eponymous highlight of the three-day Dante meeting. Here, at last, we should learn whether Workforce – yet another rising star for Abdullah – can match his billing as the leading home candidate for the Investec Derby.

When he won a Goodwood maiden by six lengths last September, Workforce was awarded points for style, but not substance. It seemed a fairly modest race, but then the runner-up turned up at Newmarket and beat 21 rivals for a huge sales bonus. Having shown enough speed to win over seven furlongs round Goodwood, Workforce was at one stage touted for the 2,000 Guineas. But connections resolved to wait for this more traditional Epsom rehearsal, no doubt mindful of the fact that his dam is a sister to a St Leger winner in Brian Boru. As a son of King's Best, it could not be guaranteed that Workforce will get the Derby trip, but today's intermediate distance should prove comfortably within range.

He represents unpalatable value, however, against colts with runs already on the board this spring, in Chabal and Coordinated Cut, and the unbeaten Cape Blanco. The latter's contemporaries at Ballydoyle have not really landed running this spring, so while there may be better times ahead for all these, the preference today is for Chabal. The colt he beat at Sandown, Azmeel, won the Chester Vase last Friday and it should not be forgotten that Chabal (2.40) had the raw ability as a juvenile to fail only by a neck in Group One company just seven days after his debut.

As we saw yesterday, it can be hard to know which is the most valid currency of Classic speculation. For the time being, however, Workforce represents words, and Chabal deeds.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Rio Mist (4.45 Salisbury) Began life in handicaps off a light mark and duly bolted up at Nottingham before a storming finish when up in class off a 9lbs higher mark next time – suggesting that another, smaller rise can be offset by this sixth furlong.

Next best

Dubai Bounty (1.55 Salisbury) Unlucky not to get up in a three-way photo at Folkestone last time, round a track where it can be hard to reel in the leaders. Trainer and jockey both in form and this lightly raced filly remains entitled to further improvement.

One to watch

Rule Of Nature (Sir Michael Stoute) Has been unlucky to bump into Horseradish in both starts this spring, but the way she saw off the rest at Chester last week suggests she remains ahead of rivals.

Where the money's going

Showcasing's excellent comeback run at York yesterday prompted Boylesports to cut his Golden Jubilee Stakes odds to 12-1 from 20-1.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Domino Developer and Administrator

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?