August 9, 2022

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Queen’s hopes of Derby Day win finish after her solely runner pulls out

With four wins in the last eight renewals of the Weatherbys Super Sprint, Richard Hannon...

With four wins in the last eight renewals of the Weatherbys Super Sprint, Richard Hannon is fast catching up with his father, Richard Hannon senior, who won the race on seven occasions.

Bidding for a fourth win in five years, the Herridge handler has another strong hand, saddling five of the 21 declared for Saturday’s valuable five-furlong Newbury dash.

Miami Girl, who has won two of her four starts for Kia Joorabchian’s Amo Racing, was a fair fifth to Dramatised in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and followed up with victory in a three-runner conditions event for fillies at Windsor.

“Miami Girl is in good nick,” said Hannon. “She ran well in the Queen Mary and obviously won at Windsor – she got more experience there and we have been very happy with her.

“That wasn’t an easy race, but she has had a nice break between then and now and she has been going very well at home.”

Swift Asset has had just two runs, both at Windsor, building on his debut fifth over six furlongs before winning a restricted maiden over the minimum trip with some ease.

“Swift Asset is a very nice horse and he will run very well,” said the confident trainer.

Armour Propre, touched off in a maiden at Carlisle on her second start, is another string to the yard’s bow, and Hannon added: “She is a nice filly. She is quite quick and I have been very pleased with her.

“She was just beaten a head and deserves to take her chance in a race like this and this race is framed for horses like her.”

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Julie Wood has been one of the yard’s mainstay owners and tasted success in this race with If Paradise in 2003. Her distinctive red and green silks will be carried by Hayley Turner, who partners Land Of Summer, a Brighton debut scorer who drops back in trip after being beaten seven lengths in the Albany at Ascot.

“We are happy with Land Of Summer, but she has got a bit to do. She is a tough filly. We have won it a few times, as had Julie Wood,” said Hannon.

“So, along with Galore, who ran all right over six (furlongs) last time, we have a few chances with the usual sort of culprits. Our horses like that local track and without having a megastar, we still have chances of winning.”

The likely favourite is the David O’Meara-trained Maria Branwell, who followed up a debut win at Thirsk with victory in the competitive National Stakes at Sandown, but lost her unbeaten record when third in the Queen Mary.

The North Yorkshire handler also saddles Hamilton scorer Not For Profit, and said: “Maria Branwell has been in good form since Ascot, we’re really happy with her.

“Her form looks rock solid, she’s got a nice weight (8st 11lb) and hopefully it will suit her well.

“Not For Profit didn’t do a lot wrong at Hamilton, he won his maiden up there nicely. He probably wouldn’t be as precocious as Maria, but he’s a good horse and hopefully he can pick up some prize money.”

The Archie Watson-trained Eddie’s Boy, third to Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle at the Royal meeting, filled the same position when chasing home Rocket Rodney in the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown a fortnight ago.

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Tom Palin, racing manager for Middleham Park Racing who own the colt, believes Hollie Doyle’s mount was a little unlucky last time out.

“This is the Super Sprint and we call this horse ‘Fast Eddie’ – he’s super quick,” said Palin.

“On official ratings and weightings, we got a bit to find with David O’Meara’s horse, who has been quite impressive, but I wouldn’t really want to swap our horse for too many others in the race.

“In the Dragon Stakes he got a bit tightened up on the rail and probably could have finished second, that’s certainly what Hollie felt, and the Windsor Castle was a good run as well.

“I think the track at Newbury would be a positive, the slight negative would be the draw as we’re 21 of 21, which is not necessarily the place to be. But we can’t do anything about that and hopefully we go there with leading claims.”

Rogue Spirit, winner of two of his three starts and beaten a neck in the other, represents Tom Clover.

“It’s always been the plan since we bought the horse to try to go to the Weatherbys Super Sprint,” said the Newmarket handler

“It’s a race I very much like and it’s a nice one for us to target with two-year-old horses and have a crack at some good prize-money.

“He seems very well. His form has worked out really well and he seems in good form at home.”

Richard Fahey, who won this race in 2013, 2015 and 2017, relies upon Dare To Hope and Claretina.

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The former was beaten a short-head at Ripon when bidding to follow-up a Nottingham debut success and drops back to the minimum trip.

“Both of them need to step up on what they have done, but it is a big pot and we are going to have a go,” said Fahey.

“Both of them might just struggle for a bit of pace. Dare To Hope wasn’t beaten far last time at Ripon, and dropping back a furlong might just be up his alley.

“He is quite a nice horse and one we like. If he can just hang in there early on, he might come home and the filly has no weight, so we will see what happens.”