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Varian anticipating Forest improvement over Park Hill trip

A step up in trip is expected to help Save A Forest raise her game for the Hippo Pro3 Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster.

The Roger Varian-trained Kingman filly has already made giant strides this year, progressing from a maiden win at Wolverhampton to landing Listed honours at Newmarket on her latest appearance.

During the intervening period, Save A Forest won a Windsor handicap, finished second in the Lingfield Oaks Trial and placed fourth behind the brilliant Snowfall in the Oaks at Epsom.

She has 9lb to find with John and Thady Gosden’s likely favourite Free Wind in Thursday’s Group Two contest, with her trainer banking on the extra two furlongs to help her bridge the gap.

“It looks like her running style will suit the step up in trip and we’ll have to see how it plays out on the day,” said Varian.

“She seems versatile ground-wise. If we had our choice we’d prefer a bit more ease in the ground, but it is what it is.”

Save A Forest had the option of taking on the boys in Saturday’s Cazoo St Leger, but connections opted to keep the filly against her own sex.

Varian added: “I think it was a relatively straightforward decision, once we saw what was left in the Leger.

“She’d have been a big outsider in the Leger, whereas she looks to have a genuine chance in the Park Hill. It’s the right race for her and hopefully she’ll run very well.”

Eileendover winning at Market Rasen
Eileendover winning at Market Rasen (Tim Goode/PA)

Eileendover would be a popular winner for Classic-winning trainer Pam Sly.

The daughter of Canford Cliffs earned rave reviews after winning three bumpers last winter, before being beaten for the first time at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April.

Eileendover has since had her attentions switched to the Flat – running well in defeat at Haydock, Pontefract and Newmarket before making a winning handicap debut on the July Course last month.

“If we could get in the first three and get a bit of black type it would be amazing. That’s what we’re hoping for,” said Sly.

“If she’s not good enough, she’s not good enough, but at least we know she’s going to stay. There’s a few shorter than us in the betting that haven’t even gone further than a mile and a half before.

“I was amazed she went on that quick ground at Newmarket. She wasn’t stiff or anything afterwards, which was good.

“We haven’t really made any plans beyond this week. She won’t be going jumping, I don’t think.”

The Hugo Palmer-trained Golden Pass beat Free Wind and Eileendover when landing a Listed prize at Newmarket in July, but has since disappointed in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

Golden Pass winning at Beverley
Golden Pass winning at Beverley (Tony Knapton/PA)

Palmer said: “She ran so badly in the Geoffrey Freer, but her blood picture was wrong after that. We’re happy to put a line through that and her work was good on Saturday.

“I had been looking forward to stepping her up to a mile and six – it has always looked like it would suit her. Just because we had one go and it went wrong at Newbury, I’m not prepared to change my mind on that.

“The favourite is Free Wind, who she beat fairly well one start ago and they’ve both had one start since. We finished last and Free Wind has won. I think if we both came here not having run another time, she would be a much shorter price.

“She’s rated 102, so she’d have an obvious chance. You’d have to excuse her last run when she didn’t run anywhere near to her mark.”

Save A Forest makes no mistake at Newmarket

Save A Forest took advantage of a sizeable drop in class to win the British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes at Newmarket.

Fourth behind Snowfall in the Oaks at Epsom, albeit beaten 19 lengths, Save A Forest was sent off at 13-2 in the Listed contest.

It looked a wide-open affair on paper with Derby winner Masar’s half-sister Sayyida and Frankel’s sister Chiasma in the field, as the Classic generation took on their elders.

Roger Varian had reached for first-time cheekpieces on Save A Forest and they clearly made a difference.

Sayyida and James Doyle hit the front a furlong out, taking over from Portfolio, but Callum Shepherd timed his challenge perfectly.

The pair drifted over to the fair rail, and Save A Forest dug in gamely to beat the 13-8 favourite by half a length. Portfolio stayed on again for third, a further neck away.

Tim Gredley, who owns the filly with his father, Bill, said: “We are kind of ready at the start now as we know she is sleepy and that is why we put the cheekpieces on.

“Callum knows how to ride her and she just keeps on going and going. I wasn’t worried as I was expecting her to be like that at the start.

“I said it the other day kind of flippantly, but she does remind of Big Orange as she has got that kind of gameness about her.

“She physically looks like him, but her running style is very different. She is just very hardy and relentless the way she gallops.

“She started on the all-weather and she was very weak back then, but we thought she would get better once we went on.”

An immediate return to Group One company could be on the cards for Save A Forest, who holds entries in both the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on August 19 and the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster on September 11.

Gredley went on: “We like to swing the bat at big races, but will speak to Roger. However, she is not ground dependent.

“We will have a look at what is about. If anything she will be going up in trip as I think she needs a bit further to see her at her best.

“She will be around next season as well. She is here to race and we will enjoy her.

“Honestly I think she will be better next year once she has had a break and muscled up a bit. She is winning these races off guts and grit at the moment.”

As for runner-up Sayyida, her trainer Charlie Appleby is considering sending the daughter of Dubawi over to France on her next start.

He said: “It is her first time in a black0type race and she has gone and run a credible race.

“We know the winner is well thought of having finished fourth in an Oaks. Running up in second behind her we are pleased.

“It is a step in the right direction and she is now a black-type placed filly. I’d be confident she will be up to winning a race like this.

“James (Doyle) said she will be better with more juice in the ground so we will probably venture to France now and see if we can do some pot hunting there.”

Save A Forest hoping to sample Chalice glory

Cazoo Oaks fourth Save A Forest has her sights lowered in the British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Successful on her first two starts of the season at Wolverhampton and Windsor, Roger Varian’s filly was only narrowly denied her hat-trick in the Lingfield Oaks Trial – earning herself a shot at Classic glory.

While ultimately unable to land a blow at Epsom, Save A Forest was not disgraced behind the brilliant winner Snowfall and drops to Listed class for this weekend’s feature event on the July Course.

Varian said: “Save A Forest is a lovely filly who has improved with every start. She comes out well at the weights on Saturday and looks to have a decent chance.

“Her run in the Oaks was very good. There should be more to come from her in the second half of the summer into the autumn and hopefully the Chalice Stakes can be a good springboard into those backend races.

“She is a little lazy with her way of running so we have put the cheekpieces on to help her travel better in the early part of her races. There is no questioning her attitude at the end of a race – she is very game.

“She is very laid-back in the mornings and you wouldn’t know she was there, but it is about the afternoons and not the mornings and she produces in the afternoon.

“She is a filly who is thriving physically and at this time of year that is a good thing.”

Ralph Beckett’s unbeaten filly Yesyes and Frankel’s full-sister Chiasma, trained by John and Thady Gosden, both carry the colours of the late Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte team.

Thady Gosden said: “It’s a good renewal of the race and some of the fillies in there have got some strong form by their names.

“Chiasma won last time out, which was important for her and for Juddmonte. Now we hope to get some black type next to her name with a pedigree like hers.

“She was beaten by a smart filly on soft ground at Goodwood over a mile and a quarter and she showed improvement for the step up to a mile and a half last time.

“If the ground is faster it won’t be a worry, although it is due to rain and she has already run on soft ground. She shows a great attitude at home and enjoys her work.”

Beckett expects the track to suit Haydock and Lingfield scorer Yesyes.

“She has had a lovely introduction to her career on the racecourse, winning both of her starts,” said the trainer.

“The mile and a half on the July Course should suit her really well, particularly as they have a drop of rain forecast. Her first run has been given a boost and it is lovely form.

“We’ve had to be patient with her as she was slow to come to hand. Last year she was a big filly and was simply not ready to race.”

Charlie Appleby is confident Sayyida can put her assured stamina to good use, after victories on the Rowley Mile and most recently over course and distance.

He said: “She goes into the race on the back of a couple of nice wins there, including over course and distance last time out.

“We will be slightly on weather watch as we would like a bit of rain as it was quick enough there on her last start.

“It is her first chance to step up into black-type company. We are pleased with her preparation and the one thing she does is stay well.”

Andrew Balding is another hoping plenty of rain arrives at the track to allow Italian Oaks fifth Invite to make a positive impact on her stable debut.

“She is new to us but she ran a good race in the Italian Oaks. She really needs the rain to come to be seen at her best and participate,” said Balding.

“We’ve not had her long but she seems settled and relaxed. I hope she would stay this trip as she has shaped like a stayer in her previous runs, from what I’ve seen.”