Racing: Tregoning puts Guineas hope Sir Percy through his paces at Newbury

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The Independent Online

Sir Percy was given a suitable punchbag in Nahaar, unplaced in two maidens at two, and made an appropriate exhibition of his galloping companion in a searching piece of work over seven furlongs. Coaxed along by Martin Dwyer, Sir Percy soon found a fluent rhythm and stretched well clear as Nahaar was eased.

Tregoning pronounced himself highly satisfied. The Mark Of Esteem colt had been on a tight schedule after pulling off a shoe in January, and his trainer was anxious not to have him too fresh and excitable first time out at Newmarket. "A strong bit of work like that was quite essential for him," Tregoning said. "Martin was very pleased with him and I certainly am. Nahaar was kindly loaned by Sheikh Hamdan and would be more of a sprinting sort of horse. The point of the exercise was to take him at a good clip for about three-parts of the way and then let the other horse do what Martin wanted. We just wanted to get him used to the crowds again and the buzz and people watching him."

Sir Percy remains 5-1 second favourite with Coral for the Guineas, now just a fortnight away. Tregoning's horses ran fairly anonymously at Newmarket during the week but no more so than those sent over by Aidan O'Brien, trainer of the 9-4 favourite, George Washington. The suspicion that the Ballydoyle horses may be behind schedule is heightened by the stable's chosen runners in the P W McGrath Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown tomorrow. O'Brien has tended to use this race as a stepping stone to the Derrinstown Derby Trial but Mountain and Altius have the look of "markers" against which to measure bigger reputations in the yard.

Ouija Board has Frankie Dettori on board as the globe-trotting mare returns to Hong Kong for the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Ouija Board never landed a blow when fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic last month, and will have to show a lot more zip dropped back to 10 furlongs this time. "My fundamental concern is a potential lack of pace in the race," Ed Dunlop, her trainer, said. "She has won a Breeders' Cup over a mile and three, so I would hope she can handle the trip. We were incredibly lucky that Frankie was able to come as he doesn't have Godolphin duties. He has won this race and knows the track well so we will leave it in his capable hands."

The other British runner tomorrow is Norse Dancer, ridden for the first time by Darryll Holland. Coral make Ouija Board 5-2 favourite, with Norse Dancer 16-1.

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