Maria Branwell on course for Queen Mary date

David O’Meara is looking forward to taking Maria Branwell to Royal Ascot for the Queen Mary Stakes following her game win at Sandown.

The James Garfield filly maintained her unbeaten record in the National Stakes by reeling in Michael O’Callaghan’s Crispy Cat – who brought solid credentials to the Listed event – deep inside the final furlong.

While she will undoubtedly face some stern overseas challengers from Wesley Ward and Aidan O’Brien, O’Meara expects the stiff Ascot finish to play to her strengths.

“I was very impressed with her because I thought she had a lot of work to do from where she ended up,” said O’Meara.

“She dug deep and mowed down the Amo horse (Crispy Cat). The two of them pulled a long way clear, it wasn’t as if the one in front was stopping, they put six lengths between them and the rest.

“She’s a really tough, likeable filly with a great attitude.”

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He added: “I think she’s a real five-furlong filly. A stiff five furlongs at Ascot will be right up her street. She’s not a five-furlong filly that is all speed and just scrapes home, she’s very amenable with it and very tough.”

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