Adaay In Devon (green silks, left) wins the Scurry Stakes
Adaay In Devon (green silks, left) wins the Scurry Stakes

Adaay in Devon set for York outing

Rod Millman is hoping to plunder another prestigious prize at York Racecourse when Adaay In Devon contests the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes on Friday.

The Devon trainer won a series of a top races – including the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap – on the Knavesmire with popular staying star Sergeant Cecil. Indeed, that summer of 2005 saw the yard and its hero horse land the Northumberland Plate, Ebor and Cesarewitch in a rare run of handicap dominance.

The Sergeant Cecil love affair with the Knavesmire saw him return to capture both the Group 2 Boodles Yorkshire Cup and Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup. Looking at a record of success in July at York, Millman also saddled Master Carpenter ahead of his victory in the 2015 renewal of the John Smith’s Cup.

Now he has his sights set on the £85,000 sprint for his improving star, Adaay In Devon.

The daughter of Adaay proved a useful two-year-old in 2023, notching up four victories. And she has retained her progressive profile by winning a further three races as a three-year-old.

Her latest triumph arrived in Listed company at Sandown in June, when she struck by a head, in the hands of her regular jockey Silvestre De Sousa.

Millman said: “At the start of the season, as she’d had such a successful season last year and had a handicap rating of 95, I did think she might struggle this year because of her mark. But she’s proved me wrong. she keeps improving every time we run her. She has won two Listed races and a valuable handicap and been placed in a Group 3. She keeps pulling out a little bit more.

“She’s had a nice break, a few weeks off, and has come back training very well. I took her for an away gallop last weekend – one of my fellow trainers here, Stuart Kittow, has got one of the best gallops around. It was just somewhere different to go and it did her good. She did a nice bit of work just to put her straight and I’m looking forward to a very good run. She likes soft ground, so any rain at York is a benefit to us.

“As far as I know, Silvestre rides our filly. I think he thinks quite a bit of her, so he wanted to go to York to ride her. They suit each other very well. he’s a very good jockey and she’s a very tenacious filly. She’s got the right attitude. there’s a lot of morning glory horses that work well at home and don’t do it on the track. whereas she produces it on the track every time.”

Millman also confirmed a large contingent from Adaay In Devon’s Horniwinks syndicate will be making the trip north. He also confirmed that the ownership group are named after a south-west vernacular reference for lapwings, a bird seen in farmland fields, as well as by stretches of water

Millman said: “I think’s six people – a lot of them are in the farming industry. It all started off talking in the pub; one of the guys put it to them, ‘We ought to get a syndicate up’. the original plan was to buy something to go National Hunt racing in the west country.”

They ended up with bargain buy Favourite Girl, a Listed-placed sprint filly, who came with a foal at foot – Devon Envoy. He went on to win three times for Millman and next came his half-sister Adaay In Devon and the rest is history.

Millman said: “She is the first horse ever to win four Yearling Bonuses – that was 80 grand. She was Listed-placed at two and then this year she’s just improved again. So, it’s quite a story, really.”

The six-furlong William Hill Summer Stakes for three-year-old and upwards fillies and mares is the highlight of Friday’s seven-race card, which commences at 2.05. The card precedes the 65th running of the John Smith’s Cup, which will be staged on Saturday afternoon.

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