Monday 18 December 2017

Prescott happy to cheerlead for Hooray's Guineas hopes

Ashley Iveson

Mark Prescott feels Hooray is coming to the boil at just the right time ahead of her bid for Classic glory in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket this afternoon.

The Invincible Spirit filly enjoyed a hugely progressive juvenile campaign. Having made a winning debut in a Kempton maiden, the youngster looked to have had her limitations exposed when stepping up in class for her next three starts.

However, a surprise victory in York's Lowther Stakes kickstarted a terrific run of form that saw her complete a hat-trick in the Cheveley Park Stakes, meaning she ended the year as champion two-year-old filly.

Prescott voiced concerns about the filly's well-being at the end of March, with doubts about whether she had trained on from two to three and whether the mile distance she will encounter this weekend was within her compass.

But while stamina doubts remain, the trainer is far happier with his Classic contender now than he was a month ago and he is happy to let her line up at Newmarket.

"I've been very happy with her for the last two and a half weeks and we'll see what happens," he said. "I've had no pressure to run her, but I'm perfectly happy to let her take her chance. It's entirely at my door if she's not at her best. I've got every doubt whether she'll stay the mile, but we'll just have to see. She was champion two-year-old filly last year, so she's not got much to lose and it's worth trying."

The prestigious prize has gone to France for two of the last three years, courtesy of Natagora and Special Duty, and this time Moonlight Cloud appears to hold outstanding claims for leading trainer Freddie Head.

The Chantilly handler has enjoyed multiple Group One victories, most notably with the brilliant mare Goldikova, but is hoping to break his Classic duck as a trainer this weekend.

"She is very well and I am very happy with her," said Head. "She has shown she handles some cut in the ground, but I hope it is fast at Newmarket. It would be lovely to win a Classic and I hope this filly will run a big race."

Jessica Harrington's Laughing Lashes has history with the reopposing Misty For Me, having beaten her in the Debutante Stakes at The Curragh before coming off second best at the same venue in the Moyglare.

"She's in very good form and seems to have travelled over well," said Harrington. "The ground will be okay for her as long as there is no jar in it, but I expect it will be safe, and that is all you can ask. I'd hope she'd have an each-way chance in what is a very open race."

Barry Hills has also trained two previous winners in Enstone Park in 1978 and Ghanaati in 2009. Like the latter, Make A Dance arrives on the back of just a maiden victory as a juvenile, but the trainer's son and assistant, Charlie Hills, admits she is extremely well regarded at home.

"Everyone has been very pleased with how she's done through the winter and her work has been very good," said Hills. "It's a big step up in class for her, but her work would suggest she is well capable of it.

"The boys at home have certainly been comparing her to Ghanaati and there are definite similarities between the two. We obviously think an awful lot of this filly to be running her."

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