Flotus looked back to her best when third in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and is a warm order to land the William Hill Summer Stakes, the feature event at York on Friday.
Connections decided against taking on her Ascot conqueror and July Cup favourite Perfect Power again, so the daughter of Starspangledbanner faces 11 fillies and mares in the six-furlong Group Three contest, bidding to gain a third career success
Having been beaten a length and three-quarters in that Group One at the Royal meeting, last season’s Cheveley Park runner-up takes a drop in class for her fourth start of the season, with father and son training team Simon and Ed Crisford in confident mood.
“We’ve just minded her, ticked her over, a little breeze – she’s a fit filly and we’ve just kept her happy,” said Ed Crisford.
“She’s in really great form and I’m expecting a very big run from her.
“The track at York and the ground being quick, I think will really play to her strengths.”
Hala Hala Athmani outran her 80-1 odds when seventh in the Commonwealth Cup on her first run since September.
Though she has had just three career starts, trainer Kevin Ryan believes she will improve for that outing and with more experience.
He said: “She ran well at Ascot on her first run of the year – it was a hell of a race she ran. She came out of the race well and we’re looking forward to running her.
“There was nothing for her, so she had to go to Ascot without a prep, so you’d think she would come on for that.”
In similar fashion, the Ismail Mohammed-trained Zain Claudette also made her seasonal bow after a 265-day break when five and three-quarter lengths behind Richard Fahey’s Commonwealth Cup winner.
“She came back from Ascot well and is doing great in her training,” said Mohammed. “I hope she should be in the top three, as she is doing very well.
“I was very happy with her off a long break and she was not too far away from the winner. She is happy and she seemed to want more after the race.
“She won at York last season and she is drawn in stall five, in the middle of them, and I think she will be there with them.
“Long-term we need to see how she comes out of it, but the plan is to take her to Saudi Arabia and Dubai.”
Perfect Power provides Fahey with a good form-line and he saddles Umm Kulthum, who opened her campaign with a Listed win at Newmarket before finishing just over seven lengths behind Naval Crown in the Group One Platinum Jubilee at the Royal meeting.
Fahey said: “I was a fraction disappointed with her at Ascot. She probably wasn’t good enough, but it was the manner in which she never finished her race, which she always does, that bothered me.
“She never really travelled and was never at the races. She did get a bit warm before the race and whether the whole operation and the occasion didn’t suit her, we’re not sure. She is in good order and I hope she bounces back.”
Benefit is another intriguing filly, having shown plenty of improvement to win the Listed Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury for Clive Cox.
“She is a big, scopey filly and I didn’t feel that the track at Newmarket would suit her, so we decided to go to York instead,” said the Lambourn handler.
“She has taken the Salisbury run well and it was a good step to take, confirming her class at Listed level and we hope she can continue to progress.”