Trainer Karl Burke will send Dandalla to France after she completes hat-trick of wins at Newmarket
Karl Burke’s Newcastle maiden winner blew her rivals away when stepped up in class for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and was the hot favourite to complete her hat-trick in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July course.
While not as visually impressive as on her previous outing, Dandalla displayed a willing attitude to see off fellow Nick Bradley Racing-owned filly Fev Rover by a head, with Burke revealing afterwards his runner had spiked a temperature a week before the race.
“It has to be right up there with the best results we’ve had,” said Bradley.
“Dandalla has lost a bit more weight than she did after the race at Royal Ascot. Ascot was a cakewalk for her and it wasn’t the other day, but we’re putting that down to her not being quite right beforehand.
“Since the race a few people have said she’d have got beat in another few strides, but I don’t agree – I felt she was always just doing enough to hold Fev Rover at bay.
“We’re in no rush with her now, we’ll give her a bit of time and aim for the Prix Morny in the middle of August.”
Dandalla, who is part-owned by the Leyburn trainer’s wife Elaine, has attracted plenty of interest but Bradley says all offers have been rebuffed.
Bradley said Fev Rover, trained by Richard Fahey at Malton, had been tipped by the trainer beforehand and may now run in the Princess Margaret at Ascot on July 26.
A trip to York for the Nunthorpe is the next major target for Sceptical following another excellent effort in defeat in Saturday’s Darley July Cup.
Denis Hogan’s four-year-old second to the Roger Teal-trained Oxted at headquarters.
Hogan reports his stable star to have returned to Ireland none the worse and he will now be prepared for a third tilt at Group One glory in the Coolmore-sponsored feature on August 21.
“He was back home yesterday (Sunday) and he seems to come out of the race well. He was a bit tired from all the travelling, but he’s good and sound, which is the main thing,” said the Tipperary-based trainer.
“He ran a very good race. It probably didn’t work out the way we expected as we were thinking if anything was going to beat us it would be Golden Horde, but that’s sprints for you.
“You’d have to be thrilled with him. We never expected to get this far and it’s small margins in these top-level sprints, but hopefully he’ll get his turn somewhere along the line.”
He added: “At the moment the plan is to go for the Nunthorpe. Frankie felt coming back to five (furlongs) would suit, which obviously means we’ll have to take on Battaash, but we’ll probably give it a go.
“There is a Group Three at the Curragh on August 9 - the Phoenix Sprint Stakes. We’ll just see how he is over the next few days and then decide whether to run him there first or just go straight to York.
“After the Nunthorpe you’ve got the Flying Five back at the Curragh (September 13) and Frankie mentioned the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp, but the obvious worry with that race would be the ground can come up pretty soft.
“There are plenty of options and it’s just a case of picking out the right races for him.”
Another quality sprinter housed at Hogan’s yard is Make A Challenge, who claimed his third victory at Listed level in the Midsummer Sprint Stakes at the Curragh on Friday evening.
The Invincible Spirit gelding could make a swift reappearance for the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday and Hogan is not ruling out the possibility of him taking on Sceptical before the season is out.
“I was very happy with him - he toughed it out well,” said Hogan.
“We’re thinking of supplementing him for the Sapphire Stakes this weekend as he loves the Curragh and seems in good form.
“I suppose the two of them might bump into each other at some stage, but it’s a nice problem to have - if Make A Challenge can win his Group race, we’ll let them at it one day.”
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