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Thursday, March 27, 2003


Bravery mulling options for Striking Ambition

Veteran Newmarket trainer Geoff Wragg revealed today that he could have a runner in both the Sagitta 1000 Guineas and Sagitta 2000 Guineas next month.

The Abington Place handler, who has yet to win either of the two opening classics, is hoping to run Bloomsbury Stud's home-bred Ego - who will make her seasonal debut in the Shadwell Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on April 15 - in the Sagitta 1000 Guineas.

Last season Ego ran four times, winning the EBF Meddler Stud Maiden Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket in August and also the GNER Conditions Stakes over six furlongs at Doncaster in September.

On her final start of the season, she finished three and a half lengths fourth to Airwave in the Grade One Betfair Cheveley Park Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket on October 4.

Wragg said today: "Ego's participation in the Sagitta 1000 Guineas depends on how she runs in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. She's done well over the winter and is fine at the moment."

Last season Ego showed plenty of speed and, after her win at Doncaster, Wragg expressed concerns that being by Green Desert she may be best at distances short of a mile.

When questioned as to whether he now thinks Ego will stay a mile, Wragg replied: "There is always a slight doubt in the back of the mind but we will soon find out when she runs."

In the Sagitta 2000 Guineas, Wragg has made an entry for the twice-raced Mezuzah. After finishing fifth in the Glow-Worm Rewards Club EBF Maiden Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket on September 24, the son of Barathea went on to win a seven-furlong maiden at Doncaster by five lengths in stylish fashion on November 8.

"Mezuzah will probably run at Kempton in the Easter Stakes [run over a mile at on April 19]. We will see what the form of that race looks like and take it from there. I'm happy with him at present."

Meanwhile Giles Bravery today revealed that Striking Ambition could also line up in the Sagitta 2000 Guineas.

"Striking Ambition will run in either the English or the French 2000 Guineas - it will depend on the weather. The softer the going the more likely the place that I would go to and I would like quite a lot of rain," explained the Newmarket trainer.

The son of Makbul won two of his three starts as a juvenile, including the Listed Prix Saraca on his last start at Saint-Cloud on November 13, when he proved his liking for some juice in the ground with a three-length defeat of Mystic Melody on a heavy surface.

Striking Ambition has pleased his handler since that last racecourse appearance and will have one outing before going for a Guineas.

"He has wintered very well and he may very easily run in the Listed race at Lingfield on Saturday week [the Littlewoods Bet Direct International Trial Stakes] or the Greenham Stakes [at Newbury on April 12] but, with the ground being the way it is, he's more likely to go to Lingfield," he said.

The best horse that Bravery has previously trained is Torgau, who won the Group Two Kleinwort Benson Private Bank Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket in 1999, before finishing runner-up to stablemate Seazun in the Cheveley Park Stakes later in the campaign. The following season she was just seven lengths adrift of Lahan in the Sagitta 1000 Guineas.

And Bravery is happy to compare Striking Ambition favourably with his former stable star. "I think Striking Ambition would strike me as being a better horse but they're different types so you never know. He would definitely be a better three-year-old than she would have been," he enthused.


The cream of the International contenders for Saturday's Dubai World Cup meeting were on display finalising their campaigns at Thursday morning's ‘Breakfast with the Stars' trackwork session at Nad Al Sheba.

Few were asked for any sort of exertion, exercise being the order of the morning and Australian sprint star Belle du Jour was the first out, working in the dark at 4am and she was clocked to run 600m in an easy 34.17 seconds.

The mare, a winner of the Group I Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on her most recent appearance has settled in very well since arriving in Dubai and is on target for Saturday's US$2,000,000 Group I Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News.

The champion South African-trained mare Ipi Tombe, favoured for Saturday's Group I Dubai Duty Free, exercised over 600m in 33.31 seconds while stablemate Victory Moon preceded that with an easy 600m in 34.27 seconds.

Victory Moon, the winner of the Group III UAE 2000 Guineas before his second to Inamorato in the Al Bastakiya on his most recent start, will again be one of the main contenders for Saturday's US$2,000,000 Group II UAE Derby.

The German pair of Paolini and Well Made accompanied each other over 600m and they weren't asked to do anything too strenuous, running 38.65 seconds.

Paolini continues an extraordinary sequence in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free, this being the 16th consecutive time the horse has raced at Group I level while Well Made runs in the US$2,000,000 Group I Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by Ports, Customs & FreeZone Corporation.

The outstanding French pair of Aquarelliste and Ange Gabriel were also out, Aquarelliste fine tuning her preparation for the US$6,000,000, Group I Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates, with a 600m gallop in 35.68seconds while Ange Gabriel became accustomed to the turf track in preparation for the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Ridden by race rider Thierry Jarnet, Ange Gabriel looked in good order with an 800m work out in 49.60 seconds.

Dubai World Cup favourite Nayef continues to impress and he again galloped with Ekraar, the pair timed to run their final 800m in 47.59 seconds.

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