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Five things we learned from this year's Craven meeting

New Approach, Ballylinch Stud and Pivotal all make their mark

Masar: New Approach colt is entered in the 2,000 Guineas
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Newmarket played host to a three-day meeting earlier this week that is perhaps one of the most informative pointers ahead of the British Classics that'll be run over the Rowley Mile in two weeks' time.

1 Deadly duo for New Approach

You wait for one to come along and two come along at once, so the saying goes, and in the case of Darley resident New Approach, that was the case as two Classic prospects emerged for the sire over the three-day meeting.

The Owen Burrows-trained Sawwaah fended off 18 rivals to win on his debut in a competitive renewal of the Wood Ditton Stakes by two lengths. A homebred for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum out of the Cape Cross mare Mudaaraah, he hails from the family of outstanding stallion Bahri. While it may only be a maiden, Shadwell used this route for Mukhadram prior to him excelling at five to land the Coral-Eclipse.

A few races later it was the turn of Godolphin homebred Masar to stake his claims for the 2,000 Guineas with a nine-length rout of the opposition in the Group 3 Craven Stakes. He is bred on the same cross as Sawwaah - out of a Cape Cross mare - and was a sharp two-year-old winning the Solario Stakes and finishing third in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

The pair were conceived in 2014, the year after he sired the Classic-winning pair Dawn Approach and Talent, and both look primed to go on to bigger things later this year.

2 First winner for Slade Power

Top-class sprinter Slade Power looks to have an exciting prospect in the shape of Strings Of Life, who became her sire's first winner on Wednesday when she made late headway to take the 5f maiden by half a length.

Her trainer Charlie Appleby is now dreaming of taking her to Royal Ascot, a track at which Slade Power excelled winning the Champions Sprint Stakes when it was a Group 2 and then the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2014.

With her sire's penchant for sprinting and an encouraging debut victory, Strings Of Life is one to keep an eye on as the season hots up.

3 Dubawi's clutch of winners

Darley's flagship sire Dubawi had a productive few days as he was responsible for three of the eight winners at Newmarket on Wednesday. 

They were Anna Nerium, Soliloquy and Old Persian. Anna Nerium took out the Listed European Free Handicap and Soliloquy made all from the front to land the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes. 

Those wins came a day after Mildenberger, a son of Teofilo out of Dubawi's winning daughter Belle Josephine, took out the Listed Feilden Stakes. 

4 Pivotal reminds us of his talents

Cheveley Park Stud stalwart Pivotal reminded everyone why he has been a force for a long time when his son Brando made a successful reappearance to take out the Group 3 Abernant Stakes on Thursday.

He also struck as the damsire of Slade Power's first winner Strings Of Life, who is out of his daughter Nashama, to further underline how his daughters are producing winners of their own.

The son of Polar Falcon was damsire of top-level scorers Cracksman and Precieuse last year and with Strings Of Life getting off the mark early on her career, expect there to be more horses out of Pivotal mares making hay this year.

5 Shrewd investment for Ballylinch Stud

Back in 2016 Ballylinch Stud went to 675,000gns to secure the winning Tobougg mare Screen Star at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale from Mark Johnston's Kingsley Park. At the time she was the dam of two winners including Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Lumiere and has also produced a Shamardal filly and an Authorized colt yet to hit the track.

On Thursday that Shamardal filly, Sheikha Reika, got off the mark as a three-year-old with a smooth success in the 7f maiden having finished runner-up on three occasions as a juvenile.

Trained by Roger Varian for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, the filly was bought by Varian for 550,000gns from the Grove Stud draft at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2016.

Sheikha Reika looks a progressive type and if she rises through the ranks to secure valuable black type, it will be a boost for her dam, who according to Weatherbys' records visited Ballylinch stalwart Lope De Vega last season. 

Masar is bred on the same cross as Sawwaah - out of a Cape Cross mare
E.W. Terms
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