Aidan O'Brien touted Emily Dickinson as a potential Ascot Gold Cup horse for the 2023 season, but after a bright start to the campaign, her form has somewhat tailed off.
No trainer has won the Ascot Gold Cup more than O'Brien, whose win in 2022 with Kyprios took his tally to eight, but Emily Dickinson was unable to bolster that record as she could finish only fourth behind Courage Mon Ami in June's staying showpiece.
The daughter of Dubawi did get back on the winning trail when dropped in grade in a Group Two event at the Curragh in July.
However, Emily Dickinson has subsequently twice ran in Group 1 company, finishing a staying on second behind Quickthorn in the Goodwood Cup before beating only one of six home in a Trueshan romp in the Prix du Cadran.
O'Brien will be hoping his four-year-old filly can get back at Ascot on Champions Day with the Long Distance Cup believed to be her main target.
|What||Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup|
|When||1.15, Saturday 21st October 2023|
|How to watch||, ITV & Sky Sports Racing|
|Odds||Kyprios 6/4, Trueshan 5/2, Courage Mon Ami 5/1, Coltrane 7/1, Emily Dickinson 8/1|
A daughter of Dubawi, things were quite slow to get going for Emily Dickinson, with just one appearance in her first season.
She was in midfield in a mile Leopardstown maiden in her sole two-year-old start and it was a similar tale when upped to 1m2f in April 2022 on her comeback.
Emily Dickinson opened her account third time out over that same trip at Naas on good ground and duly started odds-on for the Lingfield Oaks Trial in May. No better than fifth that afternoon, she would not be appearing in the Epsom Classic the following month.
O'Brien quickly sought to increase the test of stamina for his filly and she was short-headed in the Stanerra Stakes over 1m6f at Leopardstown in early July on her next start in a sign of things to come.
The remainder of 2022 saw Emily Dickinson advertising her stamina to good effect.
She was fourth in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh, before reverting to 1m6f when a close third behind talented Sea La Rosa in the Lillie Langtry at Glorious Goodwood.
From there to the St Leger at Doncaster and a three-length third behind Eldar Eldarov, before coming home a length-and-a-half adrift of Sea La Rosa in the Group 1 Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp on Arc Weekend.
After a spin around Ascot on Champions Day at the mile-and-a-half distance, it was on her final outing that she really shone, coming clear to win the Loughbrown Stakes over two-miles at the Curragh on testing ground.
As the 2023 season approached, memories of that success were to the fore as O'Brien gave notice of his intent to aim Emily Dickinson at the Cup scene, especially with Kyprios deemed likely to miss the first half of the season.
All was well in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan as Ryan Moore's partner scored by five-lengths over the 1m6f distance and that teed her up for a go at the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes back at Leopardstown in mid-May.
Sent off the 2/5 favourite in that contest, Emily Dickinson made the pace under Moore in front but, despite holding the rail turning for home, they were swallowed up and finished a tame fifth as the Jessica Harrington-trained Yashin held off the likes of Point King and Dawn Rising - both for Joseph O'Brien - to win the Group 3 prize.
A Group 1 prize still evades Emily Dickinson, but she is a Group 2 winner, which bodes well for a potential tilt at the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day.
However, her most recent run at Longchamp on Arc day was a shade disappointing, as she could finish only fifth of six in the Prix du Cadran under Frankie Dettori.
Emily Dickinson was beaten just under nine lengths behind Trueshan and finished like a tired horse, suggesting a long season may have taken its toll.
She has already had six starts this season, so it will be interesting to see if O'Brien lets her take up her chance at Ascot.