Maureen comfortably holds the challenge of Agent Allison to win nicelyPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Maureen shows her true self with taking display
Report: Newbury, Saturday
Dubai Duty Free Stakes (registered as the Fred Darling Stakes) (Group 3) 7f, 3yo fillies
SHE wasn't right in the Cheveley Park but on this occasion we saw the real Maureen as she ran out a comfortable 7-2 winner of the Fred Darling as a telling change of pace at the death saw off the favourite Rosdhu Queen, who finished fourth.
Agent Allison came from well back to finish second with Melbourne Memories back in third.
Paddy Power now go as short as 10-1 for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas. Hills have been more generous, cutting the winner to 14-1 (from 20), while BetVictor go 14s from 33s with Hot Snap their 4-1 favourite.
This didn't looks as hot a race as Wednesday's Nell Gwyn, but the winner did all that was asked of her here. Richard Hughes held up the Richard Hannon-trained daughter of Holy Roman Emperor as she tracked the front-running Rosdhu Queen and as she stalked William Haggas's filly it was only a matter of what she would find off the bridle, although the winning jockey indicated that in the end the leaders were stopping and the way Maureen picked up was probably better than it looked.
Hughes said afterwards: "I felt they went a very good gallop and I was probably eight lengths off them. The front nine died a bit but mine did pick up well."
This was a moderate Guineas trial, really, and Maureen still has a way to go before you can call her a principal player in what is a wide-open 1,000 Guineas.
"It might be harder over the extra furlong but you have to let her take her chance," said Hughes when questioned about her chances at Newmarket.
Special mention should go to the runner-up Agent Allison, who got a hefty knock from another runner as she exited the stalls and was relegated to the back of the field in the process. It was an admirable effort, therefore, to get within reach of the winner in the final furlong, though it never looked like she was going to pass her and you couldn't call her unlucky in defeat. This was a genuine performance however.