Titania out to emulate legendary Sea The Stars
Nearly five years after the peerless Sea The Stars departed the scene at the end of a scintillating three-year-old campaign, his daughter My Titania will strive to finally return John Oxx to the highest echelon at Royal Ascot.
Oxx simply hasn't had the material to go to war with on the big stage since masterminding Sea The Stars' flawless run in 2009, a mesmerising six-race sally that culminated in the Christopher Tsui-owned dual Classic hero's dramatic Prix de l'Arc Triomphe success under Mick Kinane at Longchamp.
The loss of a large swathe of the Aga Khan's contingent last year was a further blow to a man widely recognised as one of the modern era's greatest trainers and most intuitive horsemen.
When My Titania, likewise owned and bred by Tsui and his family, burst on to the scene in the autumn of 2013, there was a palpable sense that Oxx might be on the verge of a welcome return to Flat racing's front rank.
However, she missed the 1,000 Guineas due to a setback and deep ground then denied her the opportunity to contest the Irish equivalent. She will thus tackle 11 heavyweight rivals in this afternoon's Coronation Stakes without the benefit of race fitness, a point that will surely be exacerbated on the lightning fast ground.
That is obviously less than ideal, though it is worth remembering that Sea The Stars was also produced in mint condition by Oxx to land the 2,000 Guineas on his three-year-old bow.
Of course, there is no suggestion that My Titania possesses anything like her father's exalted level of ability, but, in emulating him by winning her second and third starts as a juvenile, she really impressed. She readily dismissed Pattern quality fillies at Leopardstown in September, before slamming the Oaks runner-up Tarfasha by six lengths when taking a Curragh Group Three.
Tapestry is a live danger but the suspicion is that My Titania could stamp her authority all over this under Declan McDonogh.