Final Song, Divine Spirit challenge for G2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes - GulfToday

Final Song, Divine Spirit challenge for G2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes


Final Song was third in the G2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Two-year-old fillies Final Song and Divine Spirit re-oppose in the G2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes over six furlongs on day two of Newmarket’s July Festival on Friday.

The duo lined up over a furlong shorter in the G2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, when Final Song stayed on well to take third and Divine Spirit faded to 14th.

Both runners enjoyed winning debuts over five furlongs in May, with Final Song (Saeed Bin Suroor/Ryan Moore, drawn six) making all for a comprehensive five-length victory at Ascot.

Divine Spirit (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle, drawn two) also had an impressive start to her career when readily beating subsequent winner Pink Sands at Windsor.

The seven contenders for the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes are headed by Queen Mary Stakes winner Raffle Prize and Daahyeh, who took the G3 Albany Stakes at the same meeting.

Bin Suroor commented: “Final Song ran a very good race in the Queen Mary Stakes and came out of Royal Ascot well.

“This is another tough race, but she has the class and has been working nicely. I am hoping for a good result.”

Appleby explained: “We are putting a line through Divine Spirit’s run in the Queen Mary Stakes because the ground turned quite slow with all the rain.

“She is back racing on a sound surface and the step up to six furlongs is another positive.

“It looks a strong renewal, but Divine Spirit won very well on debut at Windsor and we are looking forward to seeing how she goes over this distance.”

Elsewhere on Friday’s card at Newmarket, Secret Advisor (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) steps back up in trip for the bet365 Trophy, an 18-runner heritage handicap over a mile and six furlongs.

The five-year-old son of Dubawi, second to top-weight with 9st 6lbs, has shown good form at the distance, including when winning the valuable Melrose Handicap at York in August, 2017, and was 12th on his first start for nearly 22 months in the 12-furlong Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot on June 21.

Appleby said: “Secret Advisor had been off the track for a long time before he ran at Royal Ascot and has definitely come forward for that effort.

“The step back up to a mile and six should suit and we feel that he should run a big race.”

Meanwhile, Masar and Platinum Star go after G2 Newmarket prizes.

2018 Derby hero Masar and promising juvenile Platinum Star bid for G2 honours on the first day of the July Festival.

Masar makes his second appearance of 2019 in the 12-furlong G2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes. He returned to action after a long time off the course when fifth over the same trip in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 22, keeping on following a bad stumble emerging from the stalls.

The four-year-old colt emulated his sire New Approach when storming to a historic victory for Godolphin in the G1 Derby at Epsom Downs in June, 2018, but missed the rest of the season with a leg injury.

Doyle partners the Appleby-trained Masar, who tackles five rivals including Hardwicke Stakes third Mirage Dancer and two horses who won at Royal Ascot this year - G2 Queen’s Vase victor Dashing Willoughby and Baghdad, successful in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap.

Appleby said: “We were pleased to get Masar back on track at Royal Ascot, although the race didn’t pan out as we would have liked.

“It was just one of those things – he slipped as he was coming out of the stalls and got his legs in a bit of a muddle.

“Most importantly, he has come out of the race well and is showing us the right signs at home.

“As fit as we thought we had him beforehand, it has certainly sharpened him up physically and mentally.

“He has progressed well and looks the one to beat.”

Platinum Star returns to six furlongs for the G2 July Stakes following a fine effort over a furlong shorter in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday, 19 June, when he stayed on strongly to go down by half a length as runner-up to Southern Hills.


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Team Emirates’ Pogacar claims podium finish

A monumental final push in the UAE heat from Tadej Pogacar wasn’t enough to take the win in the third stage of the team’s home country as Adam Yates...

The 184km Emirates Stage finished with an exhausting 10.8km climb as Yates launched a surprisingly early attack with 6km to go. Pogacar didn’t react to Yates’ initial acceleration but then ripped clear of the chasing group with 5km remaining, finishing second in the stage, claiming the young rider’s jersey and ending the day second in the GC in a successful day for the team.

Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

“There is still three stages with another big mountain stage and the chance of crosswinds tomorrow so it’s not over yet. We have a strong team here so will try something for sure.”

Pogacar will get another chance to claim back the one minute GC deficit as the fifth stage of the Tour finishes at the same Jebel Hafeet summit.

Pogacar will wear the white young rider’s jersey in Wednesday’s stage as the race sees the riders return to the flats which will come as welcome relief for the sprinters.

The Emirates NBD Stage starts from Zabeel Park, crosses Mushrif Park and Motor City before finishing at Dubai City Walk where the popular walkway has been transformed as part of the racing route.

British climber Yates pulverised the opposition on the tough, final ascent of stage, winning by over a minute and taking the overall race lead.

His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

“I attacked maybe a little too early, but in the end I felt good,” said Yates, whose win gives him a 1min 07sec lead in the overall.

“A minute is a lot, but we have to do this climb again, and maybe my legs won’t be so good then,” Yates said in reference to stage five.

“Also tomorrow I heard a rumour there are going to be crosswinds, so we’ll see.”

Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

Yates came fourth at the 2016 Tour de France and is targeting the Grand Boucle this summer where he will lead the Australian team ahead of his brother Simon.

Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.

Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

22 hours ago