Habaayib ready to garner applause

Ed Dunlop-trained filly has strength to add Cherry Hinton victory to Albany Stakes win

This is the time of year, as the late, much-lamented Humph might have said, when racing trots out of the half-time tunnel of destiny having been transformed from the first XI of commercial truth into the gilded youth squad of hopes and dreams. For the older generations, much of the pecking order is in the formbook by now and focus can start to sharpen on two-year-olds.

The Newmarket meeting that opens today is actually where such interest, not initially part of the Turf's fabric, started. Tomorrow's July Stakes is the oldest two-year-old race in the calendar, first run in 1786, six years after the inaugural Derby. It was also once the most significant, but nowadays deals more in colts of classy precocity rather than of Classic potential.

Its distaff equivalent, though, is a different matter. Those lucky enough today to enjoy what must be the sport's most delightful pre-parade ring, in dappled shade beneath a calming cathedral-canopy of trees, will do worse than pay close attention to the fillies competing for the Cherry Hinton Stakes. Over the seasons, the Group Two contest has had a distinguished list of alumni, including Nahoodh, Nannina, Spinning Queen, Attraction, Sayyedati, Harayir, Diminuendo, Forest Flower, Mrs Penny, Mysterious and Pia.

Today's field of 10 looks well capable of containing a future star. Six of the contenders ran with credit at Royal Ascot, none more so than Habaayib, who produced an authoritative performance to defeat well-touted Ballydoyle representative Lillie Langtry and 20 others in the Albany Stakes.

Statistics, as well as visual evidence, say that the daughter of Royal Applause, trained locally by Ed Dunlop, should prevail again, for four times in the past five runnings has the Cherry Hinton winner used the Ascot race as a stepping stone. The one niggle in Dunlop's mind is a possible lack of pace. The Albany Stakes, over today's six furlongs, was a strongly-run affair and Habaayib was able to settle and travel before picking her opponents off.

The other fillies coming on from Ascot – the Queen Mary Stakes second, third, fourth and eighth Misheer, Ceedwell, Capercaillie and Crown, plus Windsor Castle Stakes fourth Little Scotland – are all stepping up from the minimum trip for the first time.

But Habaayib (2.35) is a young athlete whose potential seems hardly tapped and she appeals as being, simply, better than her rivals, however the race is run. "You can't fault the way she won at Ascot," said Dunlop, "but she was hard to assess beforehand because she only ever does enough, and no more, on the gallops. She'll go ahead of her lead horse, but pricks her ears and doesn't go flamboyantly clear."

She sprang a 16-1 surprise at Ascot, but will be a warm order today. Capercaillie may prove the chief threat but those wishing to invest small money at a big price should consider Little Scotland, who has done well against colts and will appreciate the extra furlong.

Today's seven-furlong juvenile maiden also has a rich history. Fourteen years ago Alhaarth beat Mark Of Esteem, and though there has not been a renewal of such gravitas since, talented runners such as Rio De La Plata, Dubai Destination, Arkadian Hero, Rainbow High, Kandidate and Victory Note have emerged. Of those with form, Liquid Asset sets the standard but a chance is taken that Erfaan (3.45) will have learned from his debut.

Today's Group One feature is the Falmouth Stakes, the first inter-generation clash over a mile for fillies and mares, though the occasion is markedly diminished by the absence of the best three-year-old in the division, Ghanaati.

The banner for her age-group has been picked up by Rainbow View (3.10), who was behind her, but entirely undisgraced, in both the 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes. Last year's juvenile champion can get her season back on track at the expense of French raider Goldikova, yet to prove she retains her outstanding three-year-old talent.

Turf account: Sue Montgomery

Nap

Snow Bay (2.55 Catterick) On his first run for 11 months and his first in a handicap, came from off the pace into fourth in a better-class race than today's. Should be sharper physically and more settled mentally this time

Next best

Sand Vixen (6.50 Kempton) Well-bred and from a yard going well, looked babyish on her debut but with experience can open her account.

One to watch

Seven-year-old hurdler Shiwawa defied a double penalty to bring up a hat-trick at Ayr on Sunday.

Where the money's going

Oaks winner Sariska is 11-10 with Ladbrokes for Sunday's Irish equivalent, with her Epsom runner-up Midday at 9-4.

Chris McGrath's Nap: Global City (2.00 Newmarket)

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'