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Saturday 20th July

Sat 20 July 2019

Good morning from Newmarket. We had showers overnight, but whether it was enough for our horses today only time will tell! We have runners at HQ, Doncaser and Ripon on what promises to be a very busy Saturday, with some really interesting and exciting racing to look forward to.

Let us begin by discussing our three runners at Newmarket. In the seven-furlong fillies’ novice auction at 2.05, the Sir Prancealot filly Magnificia will get her career underway. A €17,000 Gorsebridge breeze-up purchase, she is out of the Invincible Spirit mare Star Bonita, whose only previous runner was the six-furlong two-year-old winner Erich Bloch. Despite that we are content to start at seven-furlongs with this filly, who has come forward in the last few weeks and is now in need of racecourse experience. This is a strong-looking race for one of its type, but also presents an ideal opportunity for this filly to have her first bit of racecourse experience. Hopefully she can run with promise, although she is sure to benefit from the outing enormously. George Wood takes the ride.

We wait until 3.50 for our next representation, when we take the relatively unusual step of running two horses in the mile 0-105 handicap. Both Global Gift and Alternative Fact would ideally like a bit more rain to fall, but both have been pleasing us of late at home. This is the right race for both horses so we will let them take their chance.

Gift has an obvious advantage with three-year-old weight for age allowance, and he is on a four-timer after wins at Carlisle, Haydock and Doncaster. He has been winning his races with a decisive burst of speed a furlong or more out, and then just doing enough towards the line, so it is very difficult to gauge whether he is near the ceiling of his ability level or not. It would be exciting to think he is capable of more, and there is reason to believe he might be. This afternoon will tell us plenty, Gerald Mosse rides.

Whereas as Gift is progressing through the ranks, Alternative Fact has a different profile. He was a smart two-year-old that rather lost his way over middle distances at three and earlier this year, but as a result his mark reduced from 101 to just 89. His first try from that rating coincided with us stepping him back to a mile, and it seemed to do the trick as he was a fine third to History Writer in a very competitive Sandown handicap. That run indicated he has a future in mile handicaps, and from just a one pound higher mark today it would be disappointing if he cannot be competitive again. He is ridden by Jamie Spencer, who got a good tune out of him on the only occasion he has ridden the horse before, and we are very hopeful of a positive showing.

It goes without saying - if you glance at the form book - that both horses would prefer cut in the ground. That is the major doubt this afternoon, so we will not be complaining if it starts raining! However, the ground looks to be nice and safe, so they will likely both take their chance and I hope for the best.

At Ripon in the 5.15, we experiment with the trip of Dancingwithwolves. He has run as far as a mile and a quarter this season, but his free-going nature has not allowed him to get home. We have decided that seven or a mile is ideal for him, but this maiden handicap at Ripon popped up and looked a good opportunity. There are one or two dangers of course, and we simply don’t know if he will have the boot for the sprint distance. However, he definitely has the talent to go close at this level and we are hoping for a good run. Kieran Shoemark takes the mount.

Our interest will be maintained right until the evening today, as Virgin Snow makes her debut in the seven-furlong fillies novice at Doncaster at 6.15. This youngster is by Gleneagles and out of the legendary Snow Fairy.

Any time I run the progeny of one of my old stars is a cause for excitement, and this filly looks more racy than her older half-sister Belle De Neige who only made it to a racecourse once. We have been seeking some nice ground with a touch of ease in it for her to get started, and Doncaster tonight should fit the bill.

I don’t want expectations to be too high, as she will improve enormously for the run as mine always do, but her sire has made a lightning fast start to his stallion career and this girl looks like she should make up into a racecourse somewhere down the line. She has shown enough in her recent work to suggest that she is ready for a racecourse, and hopefully we will see some encouraging signs, but this is very much her first day at school and I am certain that she will benefit for the experience. Tom Queally takes the ride.

Enjoy the sport today,

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