Irish raider Sounds Of Heaven caused a minor upset in a thrilling renewal of the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes at York.
A quality field of eight fillies went to post for a Listed contest better known as the Michael Seely Memorial, three of which brought unbeaten records to the table.
Silver Lady was the 2-1 favourite, having made a deep impression on her Newmarket debut, with Ascot winner Queen For You and Newbury scorer Fakhama also lining up following successful introductions.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Sounds Of Heaven had finished fourth on her first start at Gowran Park before opening her account at Leopardstown in October, and on her first outing in seven months she was never too far off the pace in the hands of Ronan Whelan.
After taking a lead from Stormy Sea for much of the one-mile journey, Sounds Of Heaven (14-1) took over with a furlong to run and stuck to her guns once challenged by both Queen For You and Silver Lady, seeing them off by a short head and a neck respectively in the hands of Ronan Whelan.
Harrington was not on the Knavesmire, but said: “That was brilliant. I fancied her going over there, we just hadn’t been able to get a run into her because of the ground. We knew she wanted nice ground so we’ve waited with her and it’s paid off.
“The race wasn’t really run to suit because they didn’t go very quick, but she was lovely and relaxed. I just said to Ronan to keep it simple and he did.
“Her form had worked out well from last year, she made her debut on soft ground but won next time on better ground and the second (Boogie Woogie) ran well in a Group One in France.
“She’s in the Irish Guineas as well as the Coronation Stakes, so we’ll just wait and see what we do.
“She’s a gorgeous filly with a lovely temperament.”
Should Sounds Of Heaven head to Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes, she could well renew rivalry with John and Thady Gosden’s runner-up.
“It was a big run, just the second of her life, I’m thrilled with her,” said Gosden senior.
“She got the one beaten beside her, but she didn’t see the other one.
“There’s no reason we wouldn’t go to Ascot at this stage. She’s a big girl, she’s grown a lot and developed a lot.
“She travelled beautifully, better than anything, she just didn’t win.”