Modesty set for low-key return at Newmarket

Exciting prospect Modesty looks set to miss the Betfred Derby after connections delayed his return to action following a setback.

Owned in partnership by Aquis Farm and Manton Park, the Dubawi colt showed plenty of dash when taking a mile maiden on good to soft ground at York in October.

A Dante and Derby entry, co-trainers Martyn and Freddie Meade have decided Modesty – who is a general 50-1 shot for the Derby – will not head to York or Epsom. Instead, he will make a belated three-year-old debut at Newmarket on Friday week.

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Freddie (left) and Martyn Meade (right) have ruled out a Derby bid
Freddie (left) and Martyn Meade (right) have ruled out a Derby bid (Mike Egerton/PA)

“It has been frustrating. He has just been caught up in a series of pollen allergens we have been having recently,” said Freddie Meade.

“We have been really pleased with the way he has developed, though. He was still really green when he won at York, so the plan with him is to go to a novice at Newmarket, over a mile on May 19.”

Out of Group Three-winning mare I Am Beautiful, whose sire was multiple Group One winner Rip Van Winkle, Modesty is bred to be top-class.

And after scoring by three lengths on his debut, Meade feels the speed he showed on the Knavesmire means he will be better suited to trips short of a mile and a half, this season at least.

“We are looking at him as a mile or a mile-and-a-quarter horse this year, and so we will start him in that novice and see whether there is anything at Ascot that would suit him and go from there, really,” he said.

“I think we have ruled out the Derby. I think he’s got quite a lot of speed and I think we’d rush him to get to the Derby.

“The speed he showed at York, hopefully, with that pedigree, if he can be a good miler, then hopefully he’d make a good stallion.”

The Manton handlers have given him an entry in the St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot on June 20.

Meade added: “We’ve put him in that and those are the sort of races we’ll be looking at for him.

“He won on good to soft and he’s a very sound horse, and will seemingly handle anything. He’s one we are really excited about.”

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