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BetVictor St Hugh's Stakes: Maylandsea faces Listed acid test

Thu 11 Aug 2022
 The £37.500 BetVictor St Hugh's Stakes is the Listed highlight on Friday's card at Newbury
The £37.500 BetVictor St Hugh's Stakes is the Listed highlight on Friday's card at Newbury

It’s a “no excuses day” for Michael Bell’s Maylandsea when she lines up in the BetVictor St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury on Friday.

The daughter of Havana Grey created a taking impression at Nottingham on debut and went on to run a stormer in defeat at Royal Ascot, picking up a silver medal in the Queen Mary Stakes behind Karl Burke’s ultra-impressive Dramatised.

However, she was far too keen and unable to land a blow when stepped up to six furlongs in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes during Newmarket’s July Festival, a performance that has convinced connections to drop back in both trip and grade to a race Bell won 12 months ago with Tardis.

“Obviously she was a bit disappointing in the Duchess of Cambridge, but we scoped her afterwards and it was a bit dirty, it wasn’t the perfect tracheal wash,” said Tom Palin of Middleham Park.

“But equally she didn’t really settle. The step up to six furlongs and the steady pace they went on the day kind of counted against her, so there are a couple of excuses if you like.

“She’s training well again now and she’s dropping back in trip and in grade.

“She’s 10lb clear on official ratings, so it’s kind of a no excuses day and there’s plenty in her favour.

“You might do after the race, but at the moment I wouldn’t swap her for anything else in the line-up and we’re hoping she bounces right back to her Royal Ascot and Nottingham form. She seems that way at home and we couldn’t be more pleased with her.”

Middleham Park are double-handed in the five-furlong contest, with Rod Millman’s Cuban Mistress on the hunt for black type.

“Cuban Mistress is a good solid 90ish kind of horse,” continued Palin.

“On occasions we’ve ridden her patiently to pick up black type and on one of those occasions she did, the Dragon Stakes at Sandown, and we tried the same in the Princess Margaret at Ascot when she didn’t stay. She was one of the last off the bridle, she just didn’t get home.

“So again, back to five furlongs, we’ll ride her how she lands and if one or two of the principles don’t run their race she could be in line for a gold medal. But more likely she’ll by vying for the bronze medal.”

Katey Kontent started with two victories at Salisbury and Windsor and is another filly to run well in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.

She has been freshened up by handler Clive Cox, who said: “She ran very well at Ascot following two pleasing successes before that.

“We’ve given her a breather after Ascot and we’re very happy and looking forward to seeing her in action.

“She’s a very nice filly. She impressed with a very fast time at Windsor on her second start and it was a pleasing run at Ascot and I hope conditions will be fine for her to give her true running at Newbury.”

Richard Hannon saddles Minnetonka and Miami Girl, who have both impressed on occasion this term, while it was hard to fault Funny Story’s debut victory at Newmarket, with the Havana Grey filly representing Ralph Beckett.

Union Court (second) and Star Of Lady M (third) both chased home the impressive The Platinum Queen in the Alice Keppel at Goodwood and are respected, while David Loughnane’s Carmella has failed to make her mark in Pattern class races so far, but her trainer is convinced she remains a top prospect.

He said: “It’s not the ideal scenario dropping back to five furlongs as she is going to be better over six, we just don’t have many options for her at the moment.

“It’s a competitive renewal, but I’m adamant she’s a black-type filly and we’ll hopefully pick up some black type.”

The field is rounded off by Sean Woods’ unbeaten Terrimia, Weatherby’s Super Sprint runner-up Woolhampton and Tom Dascombe’s Queen Of Uplands.

Newbury well placed for Amber Heat Warning

Newbury will add extra staff and more water stations ahead of their two-day meeting which begins on Friday.

Despite climbing temperatures and an Amber Heat Warning throughout much of Britain, the Berkshire track envisage no problems.

Clerk of the course Keith Ottersen said: “The temperature range is similar from Thursday through to Sunday, somewhere around 31C to 33C with potentially it peaking at 34C to 35C.

“There is nothing in doubt, as while we are in an Amber Heat Warning, everything is fine.

“Everybody is happy with the mitigations in place, with equine and cooling of the participants, keeping jockeys cool etc.

“From a horse welfare point of view, we have increased water stations and we have good water pressure.

“Horses will be cooled before and after racing. We will probably minimise the time in the parade ring prior to racing and keep the horses in shady areas.

“We may not use the winner’s enclosure. We might, but may not, so we can just unsaddle, cool them and get them away as soon as possible. We have added people to replenish, move water and get horses cooled as quickly as possible.”

Friday’s card features the Listed BetVictor St Hugh’s Stakes, while Saturday contains the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes and the Group Two Hungerford Stakes.

Ottersen is happy with the forecast and says every measure has been put in place to keep the show on the road.

“We have increased the veterinary teams with assistants and nurses and we have increased the amount of staff we have around the stabling area, pre-parade and paddock areas,” he added.

“We have permanent misting fans here to keep everybody cool. The field sizes are very manageable, so there will be more people than horses to look after them.

“Sure, it is going to be warm, but along with the mitigation, the most important thing is at this stage, after having one of the hottest summers on record so far, that the horses are very well acclimatised to the heat.

“While it is still amber, we will be fine.”

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