Cole hopes Gifted Girl will get better of Ladys First

Gifted Girl goes for a first Listed success in today’s Weatherbys VAT Services Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract – before a possible assignment in America.

Paul Cole’s main concern is quick going at the Yorkshire course, where Gifted Girl will take on nine rivals, including a rematch with the Richard Fahey-trained Ladys First.

Gifted Girl started off her year by winning an Ascot fillies’ handicap and then ran a most respectable second to Thistle Bird in the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.

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“I’m just a bit worried about the ground if it’s hard up there as she’s a big filly,” said Lambourn trainer Cole.

“She’s going, though, and there’s the possibility of taking her to America next month for the Beverly D Stakes.”

Gifted Girl’s main market rival will be Ladys First who was third at Epsom and left a disappointing effort at York behind when runner-up to Duntle in the Duke of Cambridge at Royal Ascot.

Epsom fifth Ultrasonic lines up for the in-form Sir Michael Stoute while Clive Brittain’s Semayyel, a Listed winner at Yarmouth last summer, drops back to the same grade.

This coming weekend’s feature is the John Smith’s Cup at York in which Area Fifty One heads the weights after 42 horses were left in at the confirmation stage.

The five-year-old is one of five from the Richard Fahey stable along with Garde Cotiere, Lord Aeryn, Hi There and Spirit Of The Law as the North Yorkshire trainer attempts to win this heritage handicap for a fourth time.

William Haggas has left in ante-post favourite Stencive and Danchai but has taken out Fast Or Free, who was also prominent in the betting, and Westwiththenight.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Rye House, winner over the course and distance in May, has stood his ground.

Other horses high in the ante-post market still in the 10-and-a-half furlong contest include Niceofyoutotellme, Expert Warrior, Whispering Warrior, Educate and Tarikhi.

Last year’s winner King’s Warrior may try to repeat the trick for trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam while among the other interesting possibles are Star Lahib, winner of the Old Newton Cup at Haydock on Saturday, Expert Fighter, Clon Brulee and Nabucco.

A 5lb penalty for her Haydock victory ensures the Mark Johnston-trained Star Lahib a place in the York feature, should connections make decide to run.

“She did it very well on Saturday and it was obviously a great run. We feel she is even better with a bit of cut in the ground,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Jaber Abdullah.

“She seems to have come out of the race well but you never know until you run them. She’s had plenty of quick races and I haven’t spoken to Mark. Jaber Abdullah is over here and I’m sure he’d have no objections to it if Mark wanted to run, if all was well with her.”