David Loughnane is gaining a reputation as a very good trainer of juveniles and looks to have another decent type on his hands after Absolutelyflawless maintained her unbeaten record with a stylish display in the ICM Stellar Sports Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes at Chester.
Go Bears Go carried the flag for the Shropshire handler last year and having won at Southwell on her debut, Absolutelyflawless took a big step forward to beat some potentially smart fillies under Laura Pearson.
Sent off at 6-1, she was relatively slowly away but Pearson was content to sit off the hot early pace set by the odds-on favourite Star Of Lady M, who failed to handle the bend and carried most of the field into the centre of the track.
That left a a huge gap up the rail which Pearson gleefully accepted, coming home a length and a half clear of Ocean Cloud.
Loughnane said: “That was just what we wanted to see. We knew she’d be slowly away and Laura thought there’d be loads of pace on and she was right.
“She’s quite a smart filly, when the gap opened up she was going well enough to take it.
“I wasn’t sure about the ground but she’s a tough filly and obviously handled it.
“Today was the plan. We can have a think about Ascot and everything. A stiff five furlongs at Ascot, I wouldn’t be afraid of it.”
Gay Kelleway said of Ocean Cloud: “We were beaten by the ground, she wants it quick. She’ll still go to Ascot before she goes to America.”
Epsom trainer Adam West has to weigh up the pros and cons of running a three-year-old against his elders in the Dash at Epsom having seen Live In The Dream make all in the Tote-sponsored five-furlong handicap.
Having won at Sandown 12 days ago, he was racing off a mark of 92 but Ryan Moore was able to grab the rail from stall two.
Moore sensibly waited until pressing the button and the 11-8 favourite went away to win by two and a quarter lengths from Nymphadora.
West said: “He was very game. I was concerned about going around a bend today as I wasn’t sure if he could hit top speed early enough, as his early pace is his strongest weapon.
“When he goes up in grade, I’d like to think we might have a little bit more to play with. I was losing sleep over the rain but we got away with it on fresh ground – a couple of races later and we might not have.
“Steve and Jolene (De’Lemos, owners) are keen to see him in the Dash. I’m not so keen to take on older horses with a three-year-old, but being on home turf and that being such a prestigious race as an Epsom trainer, we’ll see. His brother will go there (Live In The Moment) and I wouldn’t like to split them.”
William Buick might have been out of luck in the feature race of the day when New London was well beaten in the Chester Vase, but he did manage to win the last two races.
Firstly, Secret State confirmed the potential he had shown on his debut when second in the Wood Ditton at Newmarket.
Sent off the 13-8 favourite, the son of Jacqueline Quest pulled almost four lengths clear of Honiton in the Edinburgh Gin Maiden Stakes.
Buick then needed all his strength to get Ffion up in the shadows of the post in the Stephen Wade Handicap.
Paws For Thought appeared to have slipped the field on his first start for Donald McCain but the 5-2 favourite was gaining with every stride and got home by a short head to provide Loughnane with a double.