05/11/2010 11:00PM

Aviate wins by a head at York


Jockey Eddie Ahern waited until the very end for a gap along the rail before producing Aviate for a thrilling victory in the Group 3, $97,000 Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday. The 11-4 Aviate got up in the final strides to defeat the 20-1 Gold Bubbles by a head in this trial for the English Oaks. Aviate will now head to Epsom for the June 4 Oaks.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained 2-1 favorite Cabaret backed up to finish seventh, beaten a total of six lengths. The time for the 1 1/4 miles, 88 yards on good ground was 2:09.14.

A daughter of Dansili trained by Henry Cecil (an eight-time winner of the Oaks) for Juddmonte Farms, Aviate remains unbeaten after three starts. She will now try and follow in the footsteps of Sariska, who pulled off the Musidora-Oaks double last year. Aviate is the 8-1 second favorite for the English Oaks behind the 5-1 Rumoush.

Prime Defender takes Duke of York

Prime Defender spoiled the British debut of Michael Tabor's highly regarded Australian import Starspangledbanner in the Group 2, $149,000 Duke of York Stakes. Trained by Barry Hills and ridden by Robert Winston, the 20-1 Prime Defender held on by a diminishing half-length from the 4-1 co-favorite, Showcasing, while getting the straight six furlongs in 1:11.19. Co-choice Starspangledbanner, a Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old who had won Group 1 races in Australia at six furlongs and a mile, couldn't cope with his highweight impost of 138 pounds, five pounds more than the 6-year-old winner carried. He faded to fifth, beaten two lengths.

Prime Defender, who had won for the first time in a year when he took a six-furlong allowance at Haydock Park on Saturday, is a likely candidate for the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Showcasing, who had won the six-furlong, Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York last year, is headed to the King's Stand Stakes for a meeting with Kinsale King.