Duffield plots grand finale in Paris
The curtain comes down on another Flat season at Doncaster on Saturday, but its final day could yet open momentous new horizons for Ann Duffield. Having scored with her first runner in a Group race in September, when Melody Of Love won the Firth of Clyde Stakes at Ayr, the North Yorkshire trainer now heads across the Channel in the hope of a still bigger breakthrough.
Willie The Whipper, an eight-length debut winner who followed up in a Listed race at Pontefract last month, was yesterday supplemented to the last Group One race of the European campaign, the 10-furlong Critérium de Saint-Cloud. He will carry new silks, having been acquired by a rapidly expanding Qatari bloodstock empire since Pontefract.
"It's great to have [Sheikh Fahad] in the yard," Duffield said yesterday. "I'm very grateful they've bought the horse – and even more grateful that they are keeping him with me. I think he's going to be even better next year. I know it may seem like tilting at windmills, going straight from a Listed race to a Group One. It's only his third ever run, and he obviously hasn't had a great deal of time since his second one, but we know he handles the ground and he wants a trip. The jockey couldn't pull him up in either of his races."
The extra two furlongs will clearly play to the strengths of any two-year-old who can win over a mile in the mud at a track as testing as Pontefract, and Willie The Whipper is out of a Slip Anchor mare who won over 14 furlongs. As such, he could hardly be expected to draw attention to himself at the Irish breeze-up sale where Duffield found him for €21,000 (£17,000).
"We did like his breeze," Duffield said. "But we do try to buy terribly carefully. The fact is, we're not going to get anywhere near a horse that breezes absolutely brilliantly, but a lot of those are 'bridle' horses, anyway – and the day of their breeze is the best they might ever be. So we're always looking for the sort that might have plenty left in the locker."
On what must be counted an exceptional day's shopping, Duffield also spent just €5,500 on Cinderslipper, who won impressively first time out at Redcar on Tuesday. She owed an uninspiring breeze – and her subsequent christening – to the fact that she lost a front shoe.
Duffield could not see her debut, as she was saddling Melody Of Love to just miss out on further black type at Maisons-Laffitte. Things are hardly winding down at the end of the season. With another trip to Paris now on the agenda, Duffield was at the horses-in-training sales yesterday and is also busy planning a parade of 19 yearlings at her stables on Sunday week.
"The cheapest was four grand, the most expensive 40," she said. "We'd like more, of course, and we'd like the support of more top owners and breeders. We're not a big yard, and we're competing with some very good trainers in the North. But we think we offer value for money and we're very happy to aim high, and miss small."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Easter Diva (2.10 Lingfield) Good pedigree but earned a modest rating with his previous yard. Produced instant improvement switched to handicaps by his new trainer, just unable to reel in the winner after conceding first run.
Toughness Danon (5.50 Wolverhampton) On a long losing streak, but was smart in his youth and suggested that he retains enough ability to win off this rating when hampered and staying on for fourth on his last visit to this course.
One to watch
The well-bred Shamiana (Gerard Butler) Looks a bargain at 10,000 guineas, second on her debut at Newmarket last Saturday even though she had to close from off a steady pace.
Where the money's going
The unbeaten First Mohican remains in demand with the sponsors for the Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday, now 3-1 from 4-1, while Clayton is 12-1 from 14-1.
Latest in Sport
UFC 190 Ronda Rousey vs Bethe Correia: What time does it start and where can I watch it, plus Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Norwich City mocked after revealing terrible new third kit - which is also yellow and green
Manchester United 2015/16 kit unveiled: Morgan Schneiderlin leads the Adidas campaign as new shirt is launched
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life
Mario Balotelli told he has no future at Liverpool as striker trains away from first-team
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...