Duffield in tune to end campaign in style

FUTURE Champions Day at Newmarket will reveal whether Kevin Ryan’s Blaine and Hototo are potential Classic contenders next year – they take on Clive Cox’s unbeaten Reckless Abandon in the Middle Park Stakes for two-year-old colts.

The Dewhurst Stakes, also over six furlongs and open to both colts and fillies, will provide the sternest test yet for Jim Bolger’s five-time winner Dawn Approach, whose potential has seen him acquired by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation.

It is a day when reputations are put on the line.

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And the Rockfel Stakes for fillies will help Ann Duffield assess the potential of home-bred Melody of Love, who provided the Leyburn trainer with a first Group winner when capturing the Firth of Clyde Stakes at Ayr recently under Yorkshire Post columnist Paul Mulrennan.

Today, Melody of Love will be ridden by Frankie Dettori as Duffield – married to former Classic-winning jockey George – looks to end the 2012 campaign in style. She has already trained 24 winners and at least half of her 212 runners have finished in the first four, an eye-catching return.

While Melody of Love has been the stable star, there have been plenty of other impressive performers, including Yorkshire Icon, Grievous Angel, Lady Moonlight, Scentpastparadise, Just Lille (now a winner of 17 races for Duffield) and the promising eight-length first-time out winner Willie the Whipper.

“Success breeds success,” said the trainer, whose owners include football’s Harry Redknapp.

“Our yard is buzzing. Melody of Love was our first runner in a Group race and to win it is beyond words. I can barely explain the thrill, the delight and the relief.

“I met Mrs Poilin Good, her owner/breeder, with her husband John 17 years ago around the swimming pool at Jebel Ali hotel in Dubai. It was the only hotel on the beach at the time and I was a budding trainer with only a handful of National Hunt horses.

“Never in a million years would I have believed she would, one day, provide me with the ammunition to win a Group race with my first-ever Group race runner.

“We have some superb new horses here, who can hopefully emulate what has happened this season. Apart from Melody of Love, the success of many cheaply bought yearlings stands out with Chloes Dream, bought for £6,000, dual winners Yorkshire Icon and Lady Moonlight, costing less then £6,000 apiece, with Scentpastparadise (£10,000), providing amazing value for money.

“Better quality horses have undoubtedly been the key, and the recession has helped us enormously in this regard because better quality horses have been cheaper to buy.”

Today’s Newmarket meeting also sees Malton trainer John Quinn’s Countryside Flame aim to add the Betfred Cesarewitch to the JCB Trimuph Hurdle that the horse won at Cheltenham in March.

If successful, Countrywide Flame would match Detroit City who completed the double in 2006. Mark Johnston’s Hurricane Huggins is the danger.

Legendary jump jockey AP McCoy will be the guest speaker at a sporting dinner at Cedar Court Wakefield on November 12. Proceeds will go to Wakefield Hospice which is looking to raise £25,000 from the evening. Tickets cost £40. Call 01924 213900 for more details.