Late scare for Durcan

Ted Durcan suffered a late injury scare ahead of his ride on Light Shift in tomorrow’s Blue Square Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Ted Durcan suffered a late injury scare ahead of his ride on Light Shift in tomorrow’s Blue Square Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The Irishman was aboard the Kevin Ryan-trained Blades Girl in the totesport Mile when he was sent crashing to the turf along with Drumfire and Uhoomagoo as the field bunched up at the furlong pole.

Durcan, along with fellow riders Joe Fanning and Darryll Holland, escaped serious injury in the incident but all three gave up their remaining rides.

“I’ve had a bang on the ankle but I’m OK,” reported Durcan.

“I feel perfect but the physio recommended I didn’t ride for the rest of the afternoon so I will go home and put some ice on it tonight. Hopefully I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

Durcan has partnered Light Shift on each of her seven career starts and he will be keen to maintain his relationship with the filly, who provided trainer Henry Cecil with an incredible eighth success in the Oaks earlier in the season.

Despite the fact that Peeping Fawn, runner-up at Epsom, turned the tables in the Irish equivalent, Durcan is looking forward to the two fillies locking horns once more.

“I rode her in her final piece of work on Wednesday at Mr Cecil’s and she seems awfully well,” said Durcan.

“Mr Cecil is extremely happy with her and we are expecting a big run from her.

“She is blessed with natural speed so the drop down to 10 furlongs will not bother her at all.

“We realise that it won’t be easy but it is a very exciting race and we are hoping for a massive run.”

Cecil himself is also expecting a big performance from the filly.

“Light Shift seems in very good form and has come through her preparation for Saturday really well,” said Cecil.

“It is a tough race and the other seven runners all have to be respected.

“The filly struggled throughout the race at the Curragh in very heavy ground, but despite that she ran a great race.

“Hopefully the ground tomorrow will have no jar in it and with a clear run, she should run up to her best.”

French challenger Mandesha is one of five runners to have scored at the highest level in the race but it is a first trip away from her homeland for the Alain De Royer-Dupre-trained filly.

She has won Group One races over a mile, 10 and 12 furlongs but was disappointingly beaten by Sir Michael Stoute’s Mountain High on her last start.

“It is going to be a real race, there are some very good fillies in it and we hope to be ready for it,” said Georges Rimaud, racing manager to owner Princess Zahra Aga Khan.

“It will be a real challenge but we are looking forward to it. It is her first race outside of France but she has taken the first part of the journey well and not lost any weight but obviously we won’t know until she races.

“I think the change of scenery will be good for her. In her last two races, she possibly hasn’t been at her best and has been a little bit tricky.

“She is a real filly in the sense that she will progress as the season goes on and that is the way Alain has prepared her this season, for an end-of-season campaign.

“We are expecting some improvement from her last race.

“I think Alain believes she will be more effective over a mile and a half later in the season but the ground should be perfect for her tomorrow.”

In-form Johnny Murtagh renews his profitable partnership with Peeping Fawn at Goodwood and Aidan O’Brien’s charge already has a verdict over older fillies to her name in the Curragh’s Pretty Polly Stakes.

“It’s going to be a great race and I’m really looking forward to it,” said the Irish rider.

“The three-year-olds are taking on the four-year-olds and it’s a clash of the generations.

“She ran really well when she won the Pretty Polly and she looked like she improved again when she won the (Irish) Oaks.

“She may have been on the go a while but she has improved with each run.

“I haven’t ridden her on fast ground before but she is a big, strong filly so that is probably why she handles soft ground so well.

“I think Aidan has always thought she would handle fast ground just as well.

“Peeping Fawn has beaten older horses before in the Pretty Polly so that has to be an advantage. I think she is the one they all have to beat.”

Blue Square Nassau Stakes, totesport bet: 5-2 Mandesha, 11-4 Light Shift, Peeping Fawn, 5-1 Nannina, 11-1 Yaqeen, 16-1 Speciosa, 50-1 Sweet Lilly, 150-1 Don’t Dili Dali.

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