Johnston two-handed in Nell Gwyn Stakes

 Apr 17 2018

A dozen fillies, all but three holding entries for the Group 1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile on Sunday, 6th May, will go to post for this seven furlong contest which is  one of the feature races on the middle day of the three-day bet365 Craven Meeting.

Threading, winner of the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York last August before finishing seventh in the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes on the Rowley Mile on her final outing last season, will be ridden by James Doyle as she steps up in distance – all three of her 2017 outings were over six furlongs.

Nyaleti, the mount of Joe Fanning, was a five-length scorer in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot last July prior to going down by just a head in the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes over this course and distance two months later. She has already run once this season, making the running prior to being beaten by just over four lengths in the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on Good Friday.
Their opponents include Altyn Orda (trained by Roger Varian and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa), successful in the Group 3 Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes over this track and trip in October, and Dramatically, a War Front filly from the family of Galileo representing the powerful trainer/jockey combination of Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
The only three members of the line-up not holding an entry for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas are Juliet Foxtrot, Soliloquy and Zain Hana.
The other £60,000 Group 3 contest on an eight-race card, the first half of which will be televised live on ITV4, is the bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes. This nine furlong event has attracted a nine-strong field headed by Master The World (David Elsworth/Sean Levey), winner of the Group 3 Winter Derby at Lingfield in February, and Deauville (O’Brien/Moore), who was placed in Group or Grade 1 races in England, America and Ireland last season.
A second race which may have a bearing on the first two Classics of the season is the ten-runner Listed £50,000 bet365 European Free Handicap over seven furlongs.
The top three in the weights here - Hey Jonesy (Kevin Ryan/Kevin Stott), Nebo (Charles Hills/Frankie Dettori) and Great Prospector (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan) – all hold engagements in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas while the only filly in the field, Anna Nerium (Richard Hannon/Tom Marquand), is entered in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
Mark Johnston, trainer of Threading and Nyaleti, said:
“Threading has not run since the Cheveley Park in September but she should be pretty straight for this reappearance.”
“The big question marks with her are the disappointment of her last run and this new trip. She is very well but I am not sure how she will go over this seven furlongs or the mile of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas so that’s why we are running her in a trial rather than going straight for the big one.”
“All her three juvenile races were on soft ground and it looks like we are going to get some cut in the ground again on Wednesday, but I have no idea if such conditions are important to her.”
“I don’t think that a horse should be pigeon-holed as a soft ground horse after 30 starts, never mind after three, but I have always thought that she would be better on a faster surface as her pedigree suggests.”
“Nyaleti may have needed her comeback run at Newcastle a bit, though it may have been freshness rather than lack of fitness that got her beat. But the way she ran there [over a mile] looked very much like she wanted to come back in trip.”
“Charlie [Johnston’s son and assistant] is adamant that we shouldn’t rule out running her over a mile or even further in the future, and he might be right, but the simplest thing is to drop her back to this seven furlongs.”
“The Guineas is by no means the ‘be-all and end-all’ for her but it is still a vague possibility that we want to keep open.”


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