Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby’s pair Althiqa and Summer Romance spearhead the royal blues challenge in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes for fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.
The stablemates are challenging each other for the fourth time alongside six others over the nine furlong trip on turf as Godolphin bid for their 10th Group 1 prize for the year.
Althiqa edged out Summer Romance with a strong late run in their last meeting in the Group 1 Just A Game Stakes at Belmont Park on June 5 to take the head-to-head record to 2-1 over her rival.
Althiqa, who will be ridden by Manny Franco, also scored over a mile in the Group 2 Cape Verdi at Meydan in January – a race in which Summer Romance faded to fifth.
Summer Romance, with Luis Saez aboard at Saratoga, turned the tables over nine furlongs the following month when making all in the Group 2 Balanchine, also at Meydan, with Althiqa staying on well in third.
“We were obviously delighted with Althiqa and Summer Romance in the Just a Game Stakes and they both came out of the race in good form,” Appleby, chasing a fifth Group 1 prize for the year, told godolphin.com.
“Nine furlongs is probably on the upper limit of Althiqa’s range but we feel it should be within her compass, while Summer Romance showed out in Dubai that she gets this trip well.
“They have been closely matched all year and we are hopeful that both fillies can once again be there in the finish.”