Racing: Marina is sound for Nell

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THE TERM 'regally bred' may have been slightly devalued in recent years, but when applied to Bashayer it belongs firmly in the days when royalty and commoners kept their distance.

As a daughter of Height Of Fashion, Bashayer is a half-sister to Nashwan and Unfuwain, and won an often significant maiden at Newmarket last year. Her education continues in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at the same course this afternoon, but while she may prove better than all today's rivals in time, it should pay to side with the greater experience of Marina Park (3.40) today, particularly as today's seven furlongs is probably her ideal trip.

Surprise Offer (next best 3.05) can continue Richard Hannon's fine start to the defence of the trainers' title, while the best bet of the day should be LOBILIO (nap, 4.10). This one time Derby also-ran finally broke his maiden tag last October, and appears well treated on that form.

The security surrounding today's runners is likely to be especially tight following the news that the Jockey Club is investigating a suspected doping incident at Whitwell-on-the-Hill point-to-point in Yorkshire on Saturday.

The stable lass of Now And Then, a major fancy for the card's big race, surprised a man with a syringe near her horse, who was withdrawn from his race after a mark was found on his neck. The man escaped, but it is believed that his identity is known.

Blood samples from Now And Then have been sent to the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory.