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Essential Quality seeks redemption as Classic crop face crucial tests


Essential Quality bids to reaffirm himself as North America’s top three-year-old on a potentially momentous weekend for Godolphin’s Classic generation on both sides of the Atlantic.

Last season’s Champion juvenile heads into the G1 Belmont Stakes on Saturday after suffering a first career defeat in the Kentucky Derby. He nevertheless produced an admirable display at Churchill Downs, passing the post a close fourth after enduring a troubled start.

Essential Quality is due to be joined in the Belmont Park feature by Rebel’s Romance. The son of Dubawi represents the more traditional Godolphin approach to the US Triple Crown races having wintered in Dubai, where he posted a dominant victory in the G2 UAE Derby.

His trainer Charlie Appleby is also set to be represented at the same meeting by three more Meydan graduates. Althiqa and Summer Romance both aim for a breakthrough G1 success in the Just A Game Stakes, while Desert Peace faces local sprinters in the G2 True North Stakes.

A trio of Godolphin colts will be hoping to emulate Masar with victory in Saturday’s G1 Derby at Epsom Downs, headed by the unbeaten Hurricane Lane, who was an authoritative winner of the G2 Dante Stakes. G1 runner-up One Ruler and the unexposed Adayar add further strength to Godolphin’s challenge in the premier Classic.

Last week’s highlights included Mystic Guide’s half-brother Gershwin notching a first Stakes win in the G3 Penn Mile in North America and consistent filly Exhilarates scoring in the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes in Australia.

Sky Angel and Alpen Rose both secured valuable G2 Black Type with second places at Dusseldorf, Germany, while juvenile colt New Science earmarked himself as a Royal Ascot contender with an exciting debut success at Yarmouth in the UK.