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Alcohol Free and Happy Romance set for Newbury re-match on Sunday

Mon 12 Apr 2021

Alcohol Free and Happy Romance are set to clash for a third time in Sunday’s Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury.

The score stands at one victory apiece, with Richard Hannon’s Happy Romance coming out on top in the Dick Poole at Salisbury before Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free turned the tables in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

The pair appear among 23 entries for the Group Three, registered as the Fred Darling and a recognised trial for the 1000 Guineas.

“We’ve given her an entry in the Fred Darling at Newbury on Sunday and at this stage that is very much an option,” said Balding of his Group One winner.

“Ideally we were keen to have a run, particularly because we’d be asking her to go a mile first time out if we went straight for the Guineas.

“We just think we’d be better placed if she’d had a run. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but the intention is to try to run on Sunday.”

Hannon is confident his filly can improve on a lucrative juvenile season and has no doubts about her stepping up in trip.

“She was just on the wrong part of the track, she had to come a bit wide and the winner slightly had the run of the race (in the Cheveley Park),” he said.

“I’ve been very happy with her work and, for me, she was never just a two-year-old. I know she had a busy season, but hopefully she can do better this year because she’s grown and she’s done very well.

“We’ve been very pleased with her work and I think she’ll get a mile no problem. I know it’s seven this weekend, but I think she’ll end up over a mile without any issues.

“She’s very relaxed and settles well.”

Royal Ascot winner Dandalla, the Clive Cox-trained Isabella Giles and Richard Fahey’s Umm Kulthum are all in the mix.

Meanwhile, Mill Reef winner Alkumait will reappear back at the same track in the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes.

In the absence of the retired Mohaather, the three-year-old carries Marcus Tregoning’s main hopes for the forthcoming season.

Having failed to handle soft ground in the Dewhurst when last seen, Tregoning is looking forward to getting him back on a quicker surface.

“I’m very pleased with Alkumait, he’s wintered well and seems in good form at home,” said Tregoning.

“Having won the Mill Reef in September, I’m looking forward to returning to Newbury with him.

“The ground really didn’t suit him last time out (in the Dewhurst) and I think he’s a proper top-of-the-ground horse.

“Condition-wise, he’s in the same position as we were with Mohaather when he won the race in 2019. Mohaather was a six-furlong horse dressed up as a miler, and his speed helped him win some very good mile races. Alkumait would be similar – he’s very speedy and we’re looking forward to finding out more about him.”

Richard Hannon has a major player in Chindit, who had been among the favourites for the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

“Chindit is going for the Greenham, that’s certainly the plan at the moment,” said Hannon.

Also among the 16 entries are Clive Cox’s Coventry Stakes winner Nando Parrado, The Lir Jet and Richard Fahey’s Rhythm Master.

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