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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Vermeer can paint a winning picture

Johannes Vermeer is due to represent Aidan O’Brien at Newmarket next week.
Pic: racingpost.com
Johannes Vermeer is due to represent Aidan O’Brien at Newmarket next week. Pic: racingpost.com

Frontiersman and Johannes Vermeer are among 10 possible runners for the Princess of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket next Thursday.

The former, trained by Charlie Appleby, was last seen finishing second in the Coronation Cup at Epsom but did not run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot due to a bad scope.

Appleby could also saddle Hawkbill, who would be dropping down in class after having predominantly raced at the top level in recent times.

Johannes Vermeer landed a Group Three at the Curragh on his most recent outing last Sunday and is trained by Aidan O'Brien, who has never won the Group Two over a mile and a half.

Absent

The well-regarded Poet's Word has been absent since he finished a close second in the Huxley Stakes at Chester in May, but is in contention for the Sir Michael Stoute team.

John Gosden has confirmed Muntahaa, Western Hymn and Wings Of Desire, who were all unplaced behind Idaho in the Hardwicke.

David Simcock could be double-handed with Algometer and Desert Encounter, while Saeed bin Suroor has given Tamleek the option.

Havana Grey set the record straight in the Allied World Dragon Stakes at Sandown.

Karl Burke's youngster was disappointing in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, but showed his true colours in this Listed affair over five furlongs.

Jockey PJ McDonald was keen to get into a sweet early rhythm aboard Havana Grey, who bounced out of stall two under a 3lb penalty.

Windsor Castle Stakes runner-up Roussel also travelled kindly and made his move two furlongs out.

But just as it looked like the 5-4 favourite would haul back Havana Grey, McDonald's partner kicked on again and ended up winning by a length and a quarter.

To Wafij finished third, another neck in arrears of Havana Grey, who won the Listed National Stakes over this course and distance in May.

McDonald said: "He's done it very well. The horse has made a liar out of me because I always said to Karl he'd be better held up as he's got an electric turn of foot."

Spark Plug came nicely off the pace to win the Ambant Gala Stakes.

Brian Meehan's six-year-old (4-1) was runner-up in this mile-and-a-quarter Listed race 12 months ago and easily went one place better under Ryan Moore.

Jake's Hill and Kidmenever jostled for the lead as the field turned for home, but Moore was happy to bide his time aboard the 2016 Cambridgeshire winner.

Kidmenever did well to keep going, but he was powerless against Spark Plug's last-furlong charge and was beaten into second by a length and three-quarters.

Jake's Hill was a creditable third, but last year's winner Ayrad, the 100-30 favourite, did not find a great deal and faded meekly.

Front

Meehan said: "It is nice to get the old horse's head in front and I am delighted for David Kent who looks after him. He has been very loyal and you don't often see that bond between horse and lad nowadays."

Musselburgh Racecourse has been granted a temporary licence until the end of the year.

The British Horseracing Authority decision follows a dispute with East Lothian Council, which holds the majority on the management committee, over the track's administration.

The Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee has agreed to an independent review of its governance.

Forthcoming fixtures on july 14 and 25 can now go ahead as planned.

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