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Pontefract report: Listed breakthrough for Woods and Currie

Sun 14 Aug 2022

Full replay: EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies' Stakes

Nicola Currie was celebrating her biggest success in the saddle when guiding Princess Shabnam to victory in the Listed EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies’ Stakes at Pontefract on Sunday.

It was also a first Pattern-class success for handler Sean Woods since returning to the UK following his time training in Hong Kong.

A winner at Chelmsford on the all-weather in June, the winner has been seen at Chester the last twice, progressing from the handicap ranks to pick up second in the Queensferry Stakes in her most recent outing. On that occasion she was a touch unfortunate to stumble a furlong from home when chasing home Hugo Palmer’s Group One-winner Ebro River.

Away well and always at the head of proceedings in West Yorkshire, there was only one winner once Currie kicked for home aboard the 11-2 shot as the eight-runner field entered the home straight.

The daughter of Gregorian came home strongly to finish a length and three-quarters clear of Michael Dods’ Gala Force Ten, who edged out 11-8 favourite Chil Chil for runner-up spot.

Nicola Currie talks to Racing TV's Chris Dixon after breakthrough Listed success

“As you can see she’s pretty straightforward,” said Woods.

“She’s been running well all the time – at Chester recently and she won a nice race at Chelmsford earlier in the season.

“Today she had to take a step up to beat the horses that finished second and third and she’s duly gone and done that.

“She got a nice lead and travelled well, Nicola has given her a breather going round the bend and she’s been able to quicken up and away from a classy field, so it will be interesting to see how much further she will go.”

On future plans, Woods continued: “We really need to have a look at her when she gets back, because she’s a filly that’s holding her form really well and doesn’t take much training at all, she helps you along the way with that.

“We’ll get her home and have a good think about it and go from there. But today was definitely a step up on what she’s done before. Last time she was a bit unfortunate to stumble in the straight when coming up against a Group One winner and she’s stepped up on it today and Nicola has given her a lovely ride.”

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