Friday 23 February 2018

Sing Softly can call tune at Newmarket

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Sing Softly will face 10 opponents when she bids to enhance her Qipco 1,000 Guineas credentials in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow.

As low as 14/1 for the fillies' Classic on May 1, Sing Softly has already posted two soft-ground successes at The Curragh this term, latterly winning a Listed race over seven furlongs under Colm O'Donoghue on April 3.

Tomorrow's Group Three is over the same trip, though the forecast good-to-firm going will be much faster ground than the daughter of Hennessy has encountered before. Among her rivals are John Gosden's Queen Mary Stakes winner Maqaasid, and Ladies Are Forever, which finished third in the Royal Ascot Group Two before going on to win the Two-year-old Trophy at Redcar.

Sing Softly will be partnered in the Nell Gwyn by former British champion jockey Ryan Moore, whose foray to Leopardstown on Sunday to ride for O'Brien yielded mixed results.

Moore ended his day at the Dublin venue with a maiden win on Quest For Peace, but suffered defeat on two other favourites, including Recital in the Ballysax Stakes. While the Montjeu colt is thought to be Ballydoyle's main Epsom Derby hope, he finished third behind Jim Bolger's filly Banimpire.

Meanwhile, Colm Murphy revealed yesterday that his game Aintree novice chase winner Quito De La Roque could return to Grade One company at next month's Punchestown Festival.

The Gigginstown Stud-owned seven-year-old suffered his only defeat in five runs over fences when second to subsequent Cheltenham hero Bostons Angel in a Grade One at Leopardstown after Christmas, and Friday's win in the Mildmay Novices' Chase was his third in a row at Grade Two level.

However, Murphy is anxious not to risk such an exciting prospect on fast ground, so Quito De La Roque's participation at the finale of the jumps season is not set in stone. "He has come out of the race well," Murphy confirmed, "and handled the ground okay. But it was genuine good ground, and we are mindful that we want to have a horse for the future. He will get an entry in the Growise Champion Chase at Punchestown, and we'll see what the weather does."

Willie Mullins also reported that The Midnight Club and Arbor Supreme have come out of Saturday's Grand National at Aintree in pretty good shape.

The champion trainer, whose Dooneys Gate was one of two equine fatalities in the showpiece event, said that The Midnight Club, which finished sixth having started the race as favourite, was none the worse for his exertions and may yet line out at either Fairyhouse or Punchestown in the coming weeks.

Arbor Supreme, though, suffered a minor cut when he fell at the third last, and is expected to be roughed off for the summer now. Mullins declared that both horses would be aimed at the race again next year.

Irish Independent

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