Burke is confident Laurens is in prime condition

KARL BURKE says stable star Laurens is on track for the Qipco 1000 Guineas after pleasing connections in a racecourse gallop.

Laurens and PJ McDonald remain on track for the 1000 Guineas after winning Newmarket's Fillies Mile last season.

The Leyburn trainer has always stated that the John Dance-owned filly would head straight to Newmarket on May 6 without a prep race.

A winner of Doncaster’s May Hill Stakes at the St Leger meeting, she then won Newmarket’s Group One Fillies’ Mile under jockey PJ McDonald.

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Burke was content after watching Laurens being put through her paces at Newcastle.

Brian Ellison's standard-bearer Top Notch Tonto has been switched to Ireland.

“We were very happy,” he said. “PJ rode her, she worked over seven furlongs and worked very nicely.

“It wasn’t anything overly serious, but it was a nice day out for her and a change of scenery.

“She had a nice, healthy blow and hopefully that will more or less put her spot on now,” he added. “She won’t be going away again now, she’s done plenty.

“She’s looked fantastic all winter to be fair, most of ours have, and I couldn’t be happier with the way she looks. She’s had a good coat on her, I’m not sure she was even clipped this winter.

Brian Ellison's standard-bearer Top Notch Tonto has been switched to Ireland.

“We won’t mind a little bit of cut in the ground and there is some rain forecast again next week – good ground would be perfect. She certainly wouldn’t want it firm, but it’s unlikely to be that.”

Meanwhile, two of Malton dual purpose trainer Brian Ellison’s stable stalwarts, Dream Walker and Top Notch Tonto, have moved to Ireland to be trained by Jarlath Fahey.

Dream Walker has enjoyed his two most lucrative victories to date in Ireland, landing the “Ahonoora” Handicap at the Galway Festival in each of the last two years.

Top Notch Tonto, a Group Three winner in his pomp and runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in 2013, has also run well in Ireland and owner Keith Brown, from Swanland, hopes a change of scenery will reignite both horses as they enter the twilight of their careers.

He said: “Top Notch and Dream Walker both love it out in Ireland.

“They’re not getting any younger so it makes sense to see how they get on over there.

Richard Fahey’s Forest Ranger claimed a notable scalp when seeing off hot favourite Deauville to claim the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Deauville had rounded off 2017 with three consecutive appearances at Group One level, but Tony Hamilton’s mount prevailed by half a length.

Forest Ranger was listed in the official racecard as a colt, but was actually having his first run since being gelded and could be aimed at races like Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse as the season unfolds.

“I have no plans for him. I’m not sure what trip he wants – a mile or a mile and a quarter,” said Fahey who trains at Malton. “I’m stuck in no man’s land in my own mind at the minute. He could end up somewhere like the Eclipse, but the difficulty is I trained the sister and she didn’t stay a mile and a quarter. He didn’t stop there today. I was impressed with that. It’s a tricky one.”

Meanwhile today’s Craven Stakes at Newmarket could see further Classic clues when Oisin Murphy partners Roaring Lion, runner-up in last season’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

A leading contender for next month’s 2000 Guineas for colts, Murphy recently schooled the Qatar Racing-owned horse at John Gosden’s stables and said: “I sat on him last week and he seems like he’s done well from two to three. He’s in good order, he’s fit and well and I’m really looking forward to him.”

York Racecourse has announced that total prize money this season will be a record £8m – a £500,000 increase on last year.