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Nagano bidding to go the distance in March Stakes

Roger Varian is optimistic Nagano will be see out the mile and three-quarters of the tote March Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday.

The son of Fastnet Rock showed he stays a mile and a half well when landing a handicap over the course and distance a month ago.

He now steps up in class as well as trip – but Varian feels Nagano will do himself justice in a trappy five-horse affair for the Group Three contest.

“He’s in good form. He’s been progressive all year and he looks like he’ll get the trip. He’s obviously trying a mile and six for the first time,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“He’s got track form, he’s not ground dependent. He’s a very laid-back horse at home, but we’re very happy with his condition and hopefully he’ll run a nice race.”

Andrew Balding believes Classic Lord will not be out of place as goes up in grade.

The Land Of England colt – who holds a St Leger entry – proved his effectiveness over the trip when winning a four-runner race in game fashion five weeks ago.

“He’s stepping up in class, but he’s been very consistent and improved all year. It was a good performance last time and I’d hope he run well,” said the Kingsclere handler.

Gavin Cromwell is hoping the booking of Frankie Dettori can help bridge the gap between White Pepper and the four other runners on ratings.

The Irish challenger is the outsider of the party on handicap marks, but she did got off the mark at the 13th attempt when tackling a mile and a half for the first time at Tramore on her latest start.

“She’s an awful lot to find with the others in the race, but obviously a bit of black type would be great for her. We’ve a good jockey booking, so we’re hoping for the best,” said the County Meath trainer.

Two northern raiders, Mark Johnston’s Dancing King and the David O’Meara-trained Juan De Montalban, complete the five-strong field.

Daneh was a creditable third on her first try in Group Three company and bids to improve on that effort in the tote Prestige Stakes.

The Dubawi filly, trained by Ed and Simon Crisford, was only beaten a length and three-quarters by Oscula in the Prix Six Perfections at Deauville earlier this month, after making a wining debut at Kempton.

“She’s got a great chance, she’s a good filly. It was a good run at Deauville last time and she’s entitled to be one of the favourites,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.

“She’s working very nicely, she’s in good form and let’s hope she can run a big race.”

Balding expects his two contenders, Wilderness Girl and Star from Afarhh, to put up good shows.

“Wilderness Girl won well at Goodwood at the big meeting, so the distance, track and trip are no problem,” he said.

“Star From Afarhh was disappointing last weekend, but we think she was unsuited by the slower ground. She’s returning to a faster surface and she’s a filly we like.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Tinderbox – whose form was given a major boost by Silk Romance at Newmarket on Friday – and the David Loughnane-trained Hello You are among the other runners in what looks an open affair.

Illustrating is Lowther-bound

Illustrating will reach for the stars in the Lowther Stakes at York after a commanding performance to take out the British Stallion Studs Alice Keppel EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes for Karl Burke and owners Clipper Logistics at Goodwood.

The Showcasing filly is targeting that Group Two on the Knavesmire after outclassing her foes under Danny Tudhope.

The well-supported 2-1 favourite seized the initiative approaching the distance and readily pulled two and three-quarter lengths clear of Anadora and Canonized.

Burke was quick to compare her with Quiet Reflection, who after finishing fourth in the Lowther landed the Cornwallis Stakes at Ascot.

He said: “She’s the only filly I’ve had with the same turn of foot as Quiet Reflection and showed it today. She needs cover, and there was a worrying moment when she got a bit of a bump early on, but she settled sufficiently well for Daniel to get the job done.”

Stressing that cover is essential for his filly, Burke added: “She relaxes straight away when she gets cover, and if she does that she’ll have a better chance of getting six furlongs at York.

“Her first race at Catterick was just down the road and she bolted up, but in the Royal Ascot race (Queen Mary) she was a bit gassy and did too much too soon chasing the American fillies.”

Achelois gave Andrew Balding another Goodwood winner
Achelois gave Andrew Balding another Goodwood winner (John Walton/PA)

Andrew Balding followed up his win in the Sussex Stakes with Alcohol Free when Achelois landed the British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap.

Rob Hornby send the Zoffany filly about her business well over a furlong out, and the combination had too much for Timeless Soul as the pair drew clear.

The 3-1 winner is owned by the Thurloe For Royal Marsden Cancer Charity syndicate, run by James and Nicky Stafford, who said: “Andrew said it would be a good move to step her up in trip to a mile and a quarter, and he was right.”

Nagano was vindicated after a luckless run at Ascot last time out as he claimed victory in the Unibet “15 To Go” Handicap.

The three-year-old travelled from the rear of the field to take on 100-30 favourite Siskany, who was reeled in at the half-furlong marker and eventually beaten by three-quarters of a length.

Trained by Roger Varian, the gelding was last seen in the King George V Stakes at the Royal meeting where he finished two and a quarter lengths behind the winner despite being badly hampered, with Siskany a couple of places in front of him.

This time there was no such hinderance as the bay took a wide line around the 13-runner field and powered home under David Egan.

“The last furlong was tough, but he was in front on soft ground,” Varian said.

“He got there quite comfortably and we always felt he had enough in the tank to hold on and it was nice to see him do so.

“If you look at all of his races, he’s looked in trouble at the start and then come home like a train.

“At Royal Ascot, from that good draw, we were keen not to give away the draw and maybe got him rushed early and took his finish away.

“Today we rode him more patiently and he showed what he can do.”

Magical Wish was a last-gasp winner of the seven-furlong World Pool Handicap, eventually victorious at 12-1 for Pat Dobbs and Richard Hannon.

The gelding weaved his way through much of the field to take up the lead in the closing strides of the race, pausing briefly to lunge to the left and snap his jaws at the third-placed Be Prepared.

Nagano makes no mistake at Goodwood

Nagano was vindicated after a luckless run at Ascot last time out as he claimed victory in the Unibet “15 To Go” Handicap at Gooodwood.

The three-year-old travelled from the rear of the field to take on 100-30 favourite Siskany, who was reeled in at the half-furlong marker and eventually beaten by three-quarters of a length.

Trained by Roger Varian, the gelding was last seen in the King George V Stakes at the Royal meeting where he finished two and a quarter lengths behind the winner despite being badly hampered, with Siskany a couple of places in front of him.

This time there was no such hinderance as the bay took a wide line around the 13-runner field and powered home under David Egan.

“The last furlong was tough, but he was in front on soft ground,” Varian said.

“He got there quite comfortably and we always felt he had enough in the tank to hold on and it was nice to see him do so.

“If you look at all of his races, he’s looked in trouble at the start and then come home like a train.

“At Royal Ascot, from that good draw, we were keen not to give away the draw and maybe got him rushed early and took his finish away.

“Today we rode him more patiently and he showed what he can do.”