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Sacred camp eye return to sprinting at Royal Ascot

High-class filly Sacred is likely to be dropped in distance for a tilt at the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

An impressive debut winner at Newmarket last summer, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned three-year-old went on to finish second in the Queen Mary at the Royal meeting, the Lowther Stakes at York and the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

Having successfully stepped up to seven furlongs on her return to action in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in April, connections allowed the William Haggas-trained filly to return to the Rowley Mile for a tilt at Classic glory in the 1000 Guineas.

However, while she was not disgraced in finishing seventh, she is now set to return to sprint distances.

Sacred in winning action at Newmarket
Sacred in winning action at Newmarket (David Davies/PA)
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Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director, said: “That (Commonwealth Cup) is the wish at this point in time.

“We thought that she didn’t stay in the Guineas. The Commonwealth Cup is a tough race, but it’s the logical race for her.

“She was the last off the bridle at Newmarket, in fairness – she just ran out of puff.

“We think she’s come on well for the experience, and William is pleased with her, so we’ll roll the dice.”

Another exciting Cheveley Park filly in contention for the Royal meeting is Sir Michael Stoute’s Potapova.

The daughter of Invincible Spirit has made a huge impression in her two starts to date – winning by six and a half lengths at Chelmsford in November and eight lengths at Redcar this month.

Richardson confirmed a step up to Group One level for the Coronation Stakes is under serious consideration.

He added: “We haven’t made that decision yet. That is what I would favour personally, but Sir Michael is playing his cards close to his chest, so we’ll see.

“I know that he rates this filly very highly. She did take a while to come to herself last year, but obviously she has come earlier (this year) and she has plenty of potential, which we’ve already witnessed.

“We can’t commit (to the Coronation) just yet, but I’m hoping she might turn up there.

“She’s got plenty of talent and she’s one that we can bring along gradually – and I’m sure she’ll keep improving.”

Sacred stakes Guineas claim with Nell Gwyn victory

Sacred staked her claim for next month’s Qipco 1000 Guineas with a decisive victory in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.

A winner on the Rowley Mile at the start of last season, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly went on to fill the runner-up spot in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Lowther at York and the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

The daughter of Exceed And Excel disappointed on her final juvenile start in September’s Cheveley Park Stakes – but stepping up to seven furlongs for the first time on her seasonal reappearance, she showed her true colours in a first-time tongue-tie.

Settled in behind the pace-setters for much of the race by Ryan Moore, the 6-1 shot briefly looked as though she could be all dressed up with nowhere to go racing out of the dip.

However, when the gap did come, Sacred displayed smart acceleration to take it and grab the lead – and she was ultimately well on top as she passed the post with three-quarters of a length in hand over the previously unbeaten Saffron Beach.

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Winning trainer William Haggas was completing a quickfire Group Three double, following the success of My Oberon in the preceding Earl Of Sefton Stakes.

He said of Sacred: “She got beat in three Group Twos last year, which was frustrating, before she went off the boil.

“But I’ve always maintained she’d stay, and she’s proved that today. She’s got a nice turn of speed and she picked up really well.”

Haggas confirmed the plan to return to Newmarket for next month’s Classic.

“I don’t know the quality of the race – Saffron Beach is a very acceptable first-four shout in the Guineas, I think,” he said.

“Ryan said seven is her trip, but I think it’s a no-brainer to come back in two weeks – there’s only one of them a year, and she can always drop back down later.

“I don’t think she does much in front either, so if you’re brave you can wait longer.

“It’s difficult to know with Ryan, because he doesn’t say much even without a mask – so with one on it is hard to get it!

“But he’s great and a thorough professional. He was very pleased with her. He gave her a lovely ride, and I thought she won nicely.”

Saffron Beach is also Guineas-bound.

Her trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said: “I thought she ran well – I was really pleased, Adam (Kirby) was happy with her, and she ran right through the line.

“She had a good blow, which we knew she would because she’s 85-90 per cent fit, so we’ll look forward to the Guineas now.

“She looked to me as if she’s ready for a mile now, comfortably. She was coming back at the line.

“Adam wasn’t too hard on her, because this wasn’t the Guineas. This was better than a stepping-stone – she’s got more black type, which is important, and she’ll come on for the run with a mile to suit, because she took some pulling up.”

Foret hat-trick now the aim for One Master

A Prix de la Foret hat-trick bid is on the cards for One Master following her narrow defeat at Doncaster on Saturday.

The William Haggas-trained mare has claimed Group One glory on Arc weekend in each of the past two seasons and has had a return to Paris top of the agenda throughout the current campaign.

A short-head verdict in a Group Three at Goodwood is her only victory from five starts this term, but she has been far from disgraced on her last couple of outings – chasing home the high-class Safe Voyage at York before being beaten a whisker by Wichita in the Group Two Park Stakes on Town Moor.

Haggas said: “She ran very well. She’s just been unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes.

“She’s come out of the race fine and that (Foret) is the plan.”

Sacred (blue cap) was just touched off at Doncaster
Sacred (blue cap) was just touched off at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

One Master is just one of 15 Haggas-trained horses to have finished second since September 3, with six beaten a head or less. He did enjoy an across-the-card double on Monday, however.

Another to go close at Doncaster was Sacred, who was a hot favourite for the Flying Childers after finishing second in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and the Lowther at York, but she had to make do with minor honours again after being touched off by Ubettabelieveit.

Haggas added: “Sacred was unfortunate as we had to go a bit earlier than we’d planned to beforehand as the race was happening away from her.

“She’ll go for the Cheveley Park Stakes next.”

Tom Marquand celebrates Classic glory at Doncaster
Tom Marquand celebrates Classic glory at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Both One Master and Sacred were ridden by Tom Marquand, who put the frustrating results behind him to claim a first Classic success aboard the Joseph O’Brien-trained Galileo Chrome in Saturday’s St Leger.

Haggas is proud of the 22-year-old’s achievement, saying: “I was thrilled to bits for him.

“It’s thoroughly deserved. He gave the horse a very good ride and I’m delighted for Tom.”

Sacred goes for gold in Childers

William Haggas is looking forward to saddling Sacred in the Bombardier Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster.

The filly has finished second in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the Lowther at York since winning on her Newmarket introduction.

Sacred will be switching back in trip, but Haggas expects conditions will suit his charge on Town Moor.

He said: “Sacred is in good order, and the more the ground dries out the better for her.

“She’s very well, and I think coming back from six to five furlongs will suit. I hope she’ll run a nice race.”

The ground at Doncaster in now reported to be good, with the quicker conditions prompting Michael Bell to rule out The Lir Jet, who was the second highest-rated runner in the field.

A total of 10 runners still go to post, including the Richard Hannon-trained Ventura Tormenta.

He was sixth in the Norfolk Stakes on his debut and beat The Lir Jet by a short head in the Prix Robert Papin, but was a disappointing last of 10 in the Phoenix Stakes last time.

Hannon also saddles Mohawk King – while Michael O’Callaghan’s Steel Bull, the Ger Lyons-trained Frenetic and Measure Of Magic from Johnny Murtagh’s yard are three major contenders from Ireland.

Ubettabelieveit (Nigel Tinkler), Winter Power (Tim Easterby), Perotto (Marcus Tregoning) and Burning Cash (Paul Midgley) complete the line up.