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Maureen - Richard Hughes wins The Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes.

Maureen: drops in class and trip after some tough races this summer

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Sights lowered as classy Maureen drops in trip

MAUREEN steps out of Group 1 company for the first time since April in the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster on Thursday.

Richard Hannon also saddles Zurigha in a bid to win the race for a second time, following Medley’s victory in 2007.

Maureen has had some tough assignments this summer, finishing sixth in the British and Irish 1,000 Guineas, and was not beaten far behind Elusive Kate when mixing it with her elders for the first time in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville on her last start.

Hannon said: “Maureen was beaten a little over three lengths by Elusive Kate in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville last time.

"Dropping back to seven furlongs for the first time since she won the Fred Darling at Newbury in April won’t be a problem as she has a good finishing kick."

Maureen carries a 3lb penalty, as does the Jonny Portman-trained Annecdote, surprise winner of the Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

Portman said: “It was a nice surprise when she won at Goodwood and we were going to go on our travels, but we have decided to put that off until next year. She has a penalty but I’m more worried about the ground as she ideally needs a sound surface.”

The going at Doncaster on Thursday morning was good to soft with no rain forecast until after racing. However, 4-8mm of rain is predicted overnight into Friday.

Today's key pointers

1.40 Doncaster
The opening nursery at Doncaster has been won by something carrying 8st 11lb or more eight of the last nine years, so it’s hasn’t proved beneficial to look for something towards the bottom of the weights.

2.10 Doncaster
You have to go with the Classic generation in the 2.10 at Doncaster, as only Favourable Terms in 2005 has won it for anything aged above three since 2003. Winning Express can be expected to go close.

Good, good to soft in places
Doncaster Good to soft
Epsom Soft, good to soft in places
Wolverhampton Standard to slow

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