DFS Park Hill Stakes | Group 2 | 1m6½f | ITV/Sky
The girls are centre stage on ladies' day of the Doncaster St Leger meeting where ITV broadcast four races, headed by the Park Hill Stakes, as anticipation builds towards Saturday's Classic.
Known as the 'fillies St Leger', the £100,000 Group 2 Park Hill features the John Gosden-trained Enbihaar, who is favourite to register a Group-race hat-trick and who had the reopposing South Sea Pearl and Peach Tree in arrears at Goodwood last time.
Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum keeps few fillies in training beyond their fourth birthday but the decision to persevere with Enbihaar has already paid handsome dividends this season.
A long galloping straight such as Town Moor looks sure to play to the strengths of the daughter of Redoute's Choice who has a lovely long raking stride in her armoury.
A late developer, Enbihaar did not see a racecourse until last September but has won three of her four starts this season, including one at Listed level before consecutive Group 2 triumphs.
After landing the Lancashire Oaks over a mile and a half on her penultimate start, Enbihaar was even more impressive when tackling an extra two furlongs in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood, slamming Manuela De Vega by five lengths.
The only drawback is that she has to shoulder a 3lb penalty for that, something that proved the undoing of Pilaster, who also won at Goodwood, 12 months ago.
Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to the owner, said: "Enbihaar was impressive at Goodwood and this looks the right spot for her. She has a beautiful action and looks tailor-made for Doncaster. She's an improving filly which will help her to shoulder the penalty."
Dame would be an apt winner
Gosden's Newmarket counterpart Ed Vaughan provides the main opposition in the shape of Dame Malliot, who steps up to this trip for the first time.
The daughter of Champs Elysees is one of seven three-year-olds in the eight-strong line-up but must also shoulder a Group 2 penalty after her narrow win in the Prix de Pomone at Deauville last month.
Lightly raced, Dame Malliot was having just her fourth outing when overcoming Love So Deep in heavy ground that day but this surface will be a bit different.
Vaughan said: "Dame Malliot should appreciate the quicker ground at Doncaster and shapes as if this trip will suit. This was always the plan after she won the Pomone prior to which we'd hoped to run her in the Prix Minerve over there, but she had a sinus infection."
O'Brien seeking first win
Aidan O'Brien has never won the Park Hill Stakes, going closest when Pretty Perfect was runner-up three years ago, and has three hopefuls this time around including Ryan Moore's mount Delphinia.
Fifth in the Epsom Oaks, Delphinia has since finished third in a Group 3 at Cork and is joined by stablemates South Sea Pearl and Peach Tree, both of whom have plenty to find on the book with the principals.
O'Brien said: "Delphinia was returning from a break when she ran third at Cork last month. We think she's come forward and although she'll be going the distance for the first time, we've always thought she'd stay. South Sea Pearl and Peach Tree have already won over the distance and seem in good form."
Terms set to Star for Hannon
Star Terms has been admirably consistent since finding the 1,000 Guineas too hot to handle in May and managed to breakthrough at Listed level in the Prix de Thiberville at Longchamp two starts ago.
The daughter of Sea The Stars's stamina will be under severe examination by racing two furlongs further than her Group 3 second at Deauville last time, but trainer Richard Hannon holds no fears over her chances of getting the trip.
"The step up to one mile and six and a half furlongs won’t be a problem and I've no doubt she has the class to go very close in a race like this," said Hannon. "There isn't much of her but she has a massive heart and plenty of ability, and is unlucky not to have won a Group race by now.
"She may be vulnerable to an unexposed improver but she's run twice at Doncaster and finished second on each occasion, so definitely deserves to win one here."
The field is completed by outsider Oydis, whose trainer Ralph Beckett said: "It's going to be tough for her but she's shown strong handicap form. I think the nature of the race will suit her well.