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Red Duke and Lily’s Angel in search of Classic glory at Newmarket
RED DUKE and Lily’s Angel will carry the North Yorkshire flag into battle at Newmarket this weekend as both head south in search of Classic glory.
The Qipco 2,000 Guineas on Saturday is the target of Red Duke, who will be ridden by Tom Queally who steered Frankel to victory in last year’s race, as he bids to hit the heights for Norton trainer John Quinn after finishing a creditable fifth in the UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai last month.
Lily’s Angel will be lining up 24 hours later for Malton’s Richard Fahey in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, which has been her proposed target since she went down fighting in third in the Nell Gwyn Stakes on the same course a couple of weeks ago.
It is hardly a regular occurrence for Ryedale trainers to have horses talented enough to contest Classic races, but the two local raiders, while not at the forefront of the betting for their respective targets, are not heading to Newmarket simply to make up the numbers.
Red Duke, a first Classic runner for Quinn, has already made headlines in his career.
He landed the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in July and looked distinctly unlucky next time out at Goodwood in similar grade, failing to gain a clear run until it was all too late, and he likewise failed to enjoy the rub of the green at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting when third in the Champagne Stakes.
None the worse for his flying trip last month to Dubai, where he performed so creditably, Red Duke has pleased Quinn in his final preparations for his Guineas assault.
“He’s very well, I couldn’t be happier with him,” said the Highfield trainer, who is more concerned about the ground than the horse.
“I am praying for a dry week with not a dot of rain. This is a horse who is much more effective on fast ground – he proved that last season – and I’d love to see conditions in his favour.
“If it’s good to firm ground on the day, I think he’s massively over-priced (at 50-1),” he added.
Lily’s Angel, who won on her debut at Beverley last April, has progressed and developed into a tough-as-teak performer.
Her most notable victory came in Listed company at Newmarket, but apart from her four wins, she was a short-head second in the Weatherbys Super Sprint and also runner-up in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes.
Her seasonal debut in the Nell Gwyn saw her beaten less than a length into third place, in a race which had been won 12 months ago by her stablemate Barefoot Lady, who went on to finish fifth in the 1,000 Guineas.
The common denominator between the pair is highlighted by Fahey, who said: “Both fillies are very tough. Lily’s Angel didn’t have the best of luck at Newmarket.
“She was drawn on the wing, and while I wouldn’t put it forward as an excuse, I would have loved her to have had the run the winner had near the rail.”
Lily’s Angel, ridden by Paul Hanagan, is set to step up from seven furlongs to a mile for the first time on Sunday and she gives every indication that the extra distance will be within her compass.