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Pretty Crystal shines brightest in Nell Gwyn Stakes

3 minute read

Richard Fahey enjoyed a third success in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes when Pretty Crystal fended off Dance Sequence in the closing stages.

PRETTY CRYSTAL (yellow cap) winning the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in England.
PRETTY CRYSTAL (yellow cap) winning the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Unbeaten in both starts to date, which included an impressive victory in the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes over course and distance in October, all eyes were on Dance Sequence, who was sent off 10/11 to enhance her 1000 Guineas credentials and make it a perfect three from three.

However, it would be Pretty Crystal who would steal the headlines, with the Richard Fahey -trained three-year-old proving stronger of the two Dubawi's on the Rowley Mile.

Brian Meehan's Kathmandu struck for home in a bid to give her trainer a brilliant big-race double but as she began to weaken inside the final furlong, it soon became clear the Group 3 prize lay between Pretty Crystal and Dance Sequence.

Dance Sequence continued to close with every stride but as she wandered around under William Buick in the Newmarket dip, Pretty Crystal continued to pull out all the stops for Oisin Orr, eventually battling on to score by a neck.

Kathmandu finished a further two lengths back in third.

"I'm just delighted because she had some tough tasks last year and it's nice to get one. She's been placed a few times, but I kept saying she was a black-type filly and it's the first time she's won one so it's grand," said Fahey of the 18/1 winner.

"It was a real career-best, the favourite looked a good filly and she battled away. It was a good, hardy, tough performance and you would have to be really pleased with her.

"She had to step up and she has done, she stuck her head down and kept going and we're delighted.

"We haven't put her in the 1000 Guineas and when she stepped into Pattern company last year she was found wanting a little bit. We could supplement her, but we will speak to the team and work our way from there.

"It's been a lucky race for us, and I think it's something like the third time we have won it now. It's quite a prestigious race and to get black-type in a race like that is great. We are little bit shocked that we beat the Godolphin filly."

The winner, who was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes at Ayr last September, doesn't hold an entry in next month's 1000 Guineas, although Paddy Power were quick to ease the runner-up Dancing Sequence to 11/2 for the Newmarket Classic.

"Without winning, we are delighted with the run and that is very much what the trials are there for," said Charlie Appleby.

"I spoke to William and said we are going to have to ride her a bit closer to the pace because the twice she ran last year she just got through the line and was learning on the job. Today there were pacier fillies in there and I thought he might just have to ask her a bit more to get to them and I think we saw all of that develop throughout the race.

"Even going to the line, William thought he had won, and she ducks out towards the rail so it's just all about learning and I think you will see a different filly in two and a half weeks' time. That extra furlong will suit and just the experience of this itself.

"The Guineas is two and a half weeks away so needless to say we hope there is a little bit more there, hopefully."

Racing and Sports

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