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Just Beautiful lives up to her name for Ivan Furtado

Just Beautiful provided Ivan Furtado with the biggest win of his career to date when running out a game victor of the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster.

Already a Listed winner at Musselburgh in June, she defied market expectations to finish a close sixth to Snow Lantern in the Falmouth Stakes.

Beaten in France last time out, she was sent off the 11-4 favourite in the Group Three contest with the assistance of former champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

De Sousa was keen not to allow Highfield Princess an easy lead and after a couple of furlongs held a clear advantage.

By halfway De Sousa decided it was time to kick on and went a couple of lengths clear, seeing off Highfield Princess but with Double Or Bubble closing.

The younger filly just had enough in reserve to see off the attentions of Double Or Bubble, though, winning by a head with Loch Lein running on for third, sparking great celebrations for her locally-based owners.

Furtado, who is based not too far from Town Moor down the A1 at Newark, said: “That was unbelievable. She’s some filly to do what she has – she’s won five out of seven, and second in a Group Three.

“She’s straightforward, and it’s great for the owners and staff at home. It’s fantastic for a small yard like ours.

“She was always a great mover, and we always liked her. But she had the handbrake on (at home) for quite a long time – she started to properly come to herself about September time (last year).

“We didn’t rush her. We always knew that she had something there – then from September time, we thought we had something special, and fortunately we did!

“She’s in at Newmarket for the Sun Chariot. But she’s done unbelievably well, and we’ll just see about the ground from now on.”

He added: “Whether she stays in training next year or goes to the broodmare sales is a question mark.

“But if the ground stays right, we will probably go to Newmarket – if not she’s probably done her job now.

“To have a filly like her is great, and it will probably be hard to find another one like her.

“I just hope it helps the team, and proves if we’ve got the right tools we can do the job.”

Of his background in the sport, Furtado said: “My grandparents and parents are cattle farmers in Brazil. I grew up riding horses, and very much as an amateur when I was about 14.

“But I was going to be too big to be a jockey. My granddad owned a few racehorses, and I went to do a business degree, had another job and didn’t enjoy it.

“I came to England for a bit of adventure, and my first trainer was Jim Old – he gave me a job, and I went from there.

“I was bitten by the bug, and I love it. Days like today make it all pay off.

“We’ve done unbelievably well, for (just) six years. We started with six horses – and we’ve got about 60 in the yard now.

“We have everything (we need at the yard). We just need the right horse, and we can deliver.

“I grew up as a farmer outside, and I can’t go inside (to work) any more now.”

Princess aiming to rule in Sceptre Stakes

John Quinn is anticipating another bold showing from the ultra-consistent Highfield Princess in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster on Wednesday.

The four-year-old has yet to finish out of the placings in seven outings so far this season and has shot up a full 26lb in the ratings.

Since dominating her rivals in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Highfield Princess has won a Listed prize at Chelmsford, finished a close third in a Group Three at Goodwood and filled the runner-up spot in the Group Two City of York Stakes.

Going back against her own sex on Town Moor, the daughter of Night Of Thunder is expected to be in the thick of the Group Three action once more.

“I’m very happy with her – she’s in grand nick,” said Quinn.

“Touch wood she seems in good form at home, so let’s hope for a big run – let’s hope she wins.

“She’s a very consistent filly who is versatile, genuine and tough.

“She bumped into a Group One horse at York (Space Blues), so fingers crossed she can go one better on Wednesday.”

One of the big dangers to Highfield Princess is Ivan Furtado’s stable star Just Beautiful.

Ivan Furtado saddles Just Beautiful in the Sceptre Stakes
Ivan Furtado saddles Just Beautiful in the Sceptre Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

After wins at Chelmsford and Musselburgh earlier in the year, the three-year-old finished a creditable sixth in the Group One Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket before being narrowly beaten in a Group Three in France on her latest appearance.

Furtado said: “It looks like the ground is going to be on the fast side, which is what she needs.

“She won’t be inconvenienced by the drop to seven furlongs, she’s in good order and I think she deserves to win her Group race.

“She was probably a bit unlucky in France. The ground was softer than ideal and it was a typical French race in that it was a bit tactical, the early fractions were slow and it turned into a bit of sprint.

“She came back in good form and is ready to go again. We know she stays a mile, so she should run all the way to the line at Doncaster.”

Double Or Bubble is a leading contender for Chris Wall, while Henry de Bromhead’s Wren’s Breath and Loch Lein from Jessica Harrington’s yard are two interesting challengers from Ireland.

Glesga Gal will be a big outsider for Hugo Palmer, but the Newmarket handler believes she could outrun her odds.

He said: “I’m sure she’s up to this level and I’m desperate to run her on fast ground.

“It’s a hot edition of the race. She’s got black type twice this year on ground that didn’t suit her over six furlongs and a mile and we’re finally getting to run her on nice, fast ground over seven furlongs, which I’m really looking forward to.”