Sheikh sets sights on Shadwell prize

  • By: Ian Brindle
  • Last Updated: September 26 2013, 18:34 BST

The Shadwell Stud Fillies' Mile is a relatively recent addition to Newmarket's programme having been formally transferred from Ascot in 2011.

Sheikh Mohammed: Most successful owner in Group Two contest
Sheikh Mohammed: Most successful owner in Group Two contest

During its Ascot incarnation, the race attracted a series of Classic aspirants and among its most illustrious winners were the globe-trotting Pebbles (1984), Bosra Sham (1995) and Oaks heroine, Reams Of Verse (1996)

There's little doubt that the race has been a particular favourite of Sheikh Mohammed down the years and the Dubai ruler has sent out winners such as Oh So Sharp (1984) and Diminuendo (1987) in his famous maroon and white silks, along with the last three winners in the royal blue of Godolphin.

Ihtimal could follow in those considerable hoofprints and the daughter of Shamardal has shaped with considerable promise over the last couple of months having recorded victories in the Sweet Solera Stakes and the May Hill Stakes.

Prior to those exploits, she proved she could mix it with the boys in the Chesham Stakes and there's a clear argument to suggest that she may have finished closer to Berkshire and Bunker had she been in receipt of a clear run.

Surprisingly her name wasn't among the six-day declarations for the Cheveley Park Stakes, a decision that was all the more puzzling as Sound Reflection had been supplemented for this race late last week.

Ironically, her half-brother Whispering Gallery is currently making a name for himself as a hurdler with John Ferguson and while she does not hold any lofty entries, she was an emphatic winner of a Newmarket maiden on her debut and confirmed that positive impression with victory on Kempton's Polytrack.

Clive Brittain has also elected to sidestep the Cheveley Park Stakes with Rizeena as he believes that the mile will suit.

The idea of wrapping horses up in cotton wool has never been part of Brittain's makeup and his daughter of Ifraaj has proved a notably tough cookie.

She saw off 22 rivals to take the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and while some correspondents may have raised doubts about her ability to stay seven furlongs at the Curragh, the trainer was happy to let others garner the attention as he quietly went about hatching a plan with James Doyle.

Ireland are responsible for a number of the entries this year although the prize has only gone once to the Emerald Isle during the last 30 years as Listen obliged for the Aidan O'Brien team in 2007.

The master of Ballydoyle had predictably many options at the six-day stage and he has settled upon Wonderfully to take her chance.

The Galileo filly met trouble in running during the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh but she is a proven Group class performer having gamely landed the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown under positive tactics.

With a number of the top Irish fillies staying at home for the Park Stakes at the Curragh, the opportunity for black type and prize money is there.

Avenue Gabriel got the better of Ballybacka Queen in a Listed race at the Curragh, though she had no answers to the O'Brien pair of Tapestry and Perhaps in the Debutante Stakes in August.

Charlie Hills has decided to sidestep a possible engagement in the Oh So Sharp Stakes with Chriselliam to try her in this slightly better grade.

A winner at Warwick maiden over seven furlongs, she finished second on her first attempt over a mile when second to Chief Barker at Haydock Park.

Ucheena was a 50/1 shot on her debut at Kempton and David Simcock's filly put that experience to good use when securing what was probably an above average maiden at Goodwood earlier in the month.


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