Improving Surrounding could make swift reappearance on Saturday

Wed 17 Jul 2019

Mick Halford will leave it as late as possible before deciding if Surrounding turns out again quickly in the Paddy Power Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

The six-year-old mare is in the form of her life at present and backed up a series of consistent efforts with her first win at Group Three level at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

While she has come out of the race well, the Lilbourne Lad filly has been relatively busy of late and Halford is keen to see what the strength of the race looks like before committing.

“I just haven’t made up my mind yet, but she’s in good form and I’m happy with her so far,” said Halford.

“I’ll leave it until nearer the time, but at the moment I’m happy and I’ll see what the opposition is looking like before I make the call nearer the time.

“She has come out of the run very well, though, she’s thriving.”

He added: “There’s no magic secret to her improvement, she’s just a very sound and genuine mare, a little bit stronger so she takes her racing really well.

“She’s got stronger with age, but she’s doing the same work – I don’t think I can take any credit for it.”

Halford could be represented in the Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes by Roman Turbo, a 25-1 winner on his debut.

“He’s also in the nursery off a mark of 92, but I’d be tempted to run him in the Anglesey. I just need to discuss it with his owner, but he worked well this (Wednesday) morning,” said Halford.

Hamariyna is likely to be seen next in the Hurry Harriet Stakes after being given a break following her disappointing run in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Oaks Trial at Naas.

Halford still has no explanation for the run which saw her finish eighth of nine, having previously won the Group Three Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.

After that the Blandford Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend will be on her radar.

“Nothing really came to light after Naas, she disappointed and we don’t know why, just an off day,” said the trainer.

“We’ve freshened her up and the chances are she’ll go to Gowran on August 14 for a Listed race for fillies.

“The ground will be a shade quick for her in the Oaks this weekend, so we said we’d wait.

“I wouldn’t worry about her carrying a penalty and her long-term aim will be the Blandford on Irish Champions Weekend.”

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