Natagora set for Guineas test

Connections of Natagora are growing in confidence ahead of her bid for glory in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday week.

Connections of Natagora are growing in confidence ahead of her bid for glory in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday week.

Last season’s Cheveley Park winner returned to action with a smooth win over seven furlongs at Maisons-Laffitte and has taken those exertions in her stride.

Patrick Barbe, racing manager to owner Stefan Friborg, said: “Everything is under control following her reappearance and she went quietly on the grass again on Wednesday.

“It was just an easy canter and she is happy – eating well and training well. All the lights are green and we hope for the best.

“She won very easily in the Prix Imprudence, especially as the ground was against her.

“On the other hand, the heavy going probably made it more of a stamina test. In that testing ground, the distance, while not quite equivalent to a mile at Newmarket, was close to it.”

Pascal Bary’s charge is aiming to become the first French-trained winner of the 1000 Guineas since Hatoof in 1992 and Barbe has no qualms about her staying the trip.

He continued: “I don’t think we have any doubts about her getting the mile at Newmarket.

“The dam is by Linamix and the second dam is by Margouillat, so she has a lot of stamina in the pedigree.”

Tom Dascombe is confident his smart filly Max One Two Three, owned by Betfair’s Andrew Black, will prove to be no back number in the first fillies’ Classic.

“Max One Two Three is very well at present and we’re hoping to win. We have never had a runner in a Group race before,” said the trainer.

“Initially, the plan was to go straight to the Guineas but then she was really coming to herself, so I thought we might take in a trial.

“We decided against that as she was then a little bit backward in her coat, so we thought we’d stick to the original plan and go directly to Newmarket.

“I think she wants good ground. A little bit of cut wouldn’t bother her, neither would a little bit of fast – she just wouldn’t want really fast or heavy going.”

Max One Two Three has yet to win beyond six furlongs but Dascombe does not expect her to fail due to a lack of stamina.

He added: “I have no worries about her getting a mile. Her dam and sire won over the trip and she should have won over seven last year at Newbury but I gave Richard Kingscote the wrong instructions. If she had won that day, then we wouldn’t be talking about any stamina doubts.

“The form of the Newbury race has worked out nicely, with Rosa Grace running well behind Kitty Matcham at Newmarket and the second, Dream Day, finishing runner-up in the Fred Darling last Saturday.

“I think Max One Two Three should have won that race but she didn’t and she went on and won the Listed race at York, so she proved it there.”

Michael Prosser, Newmarket’s clerk of the course and director of racing, currently reports the going to be good to firm.

However, a few rain clouds are expected to gather above Headquarters before next weekend.

“The weather is beautiful today, breezy and sunny, but the forecast is unsettled,” said Prosser.

“There is currently rain forecast every day from tomorrow through to Friday.”

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