GERMAN trainer Dominik Moser will return to his favourite European racecourse on Friday when Artistica and Sugar Free both contest the Group 3 Unibet Summer Stakes, at York.
Moser enjoyed a very special day at the Knavesmire in 2012 when his charge, Gracia Directa, won the same race as a 14/1 chance.
She returned a year later to finish second in the six-furlong contest for fillies and mares aged three-year-olds and upwards.
Artistica, a three-year-old, has won all three of her starts in 2017, including a Listed success at Nottingham followed by a Group 3 victory at Baden-Baden on May 27, so heads to the £60,000 contest on the upgrade.
Moser said: “After Nottingham, when we went to Baden-Baden there was a very short time between the races. But she ran very well in a fantastic time.
“We gave her a little break after her last race and she has worked very well in the last two weeks.
“She travels very well. This is a young filly but she is very professional on her journeys.
“I think six furlongs is the best distance for her. We saw last year that seven was a little bit too far.”
Sugar Free was second in Listed company at Hanover earlier in the season before contesting a race of the same class at Haydock. On that occasion she stumbled from the stalls and finished sixth of ten. But Moser rates her ability as close to that of Artistica.
He said: “Sugar Free had a little bit of a bad luck at Haydock last time.
“Artistica has no problems with any ground. She won on soft ground and good ground. I think Sugar Free needs a little bit more good ground – she doesn’t like soft.
“This race was one of the goals from the beginning of the year for Artistica and Sugar Free.”
Franny Norton rides Artistica, while Robert Winston – Gracia Directa’s old ally – will be aboard Sugar Free. The pair are part of a quality 16-strong field which includes such local opposition as Queen Kindly, the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther winner of last season.
For Moser, the day will trigger fond memories of Gracia Directa’s triumph on the Knavesmire.
He added: “It was a big thing for me – very special. For me, it’s a dream to come back to York. It’s my favourite racetrack in Europe.”