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


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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing