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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Hertford Dancer added to Gosden's strong Ribblesdale team

Frankie Dettori leaps from winner Hertford Dancer at Lingfield
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Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Hertford Dancer has been supplemented for the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at a cost of £17,000.

The daughter of Foxwedge was raised 23lb from a lowly mark of 76 after coming from off the pace to defeat Pocketfullofdreams at Lingfield last month, after which a tilt at the Oaks became an option but one connections decided not to pursue.

Owned by the 5 Hertford Street Racing Club, Hertford Dancer could be joined by John Gosden stablemates Astronomy's Choice, Coronet and Gracious Diana in the 1m4f contest at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Syndicate organiser Harry Herbert said: "Hertford Dancer is a remarkable filly as we took her to Lingfield off a mark of 76 hoping to get some black type and give the members a fun day out. It was astounding she won, and won as well as she did.

"She's up 23lb for that and, if she could improve half as much again, she'd have a chance. Hopefully she'll give the syndicate something to shout about again."

Hertford Dancer is one of 15 fillies in contention for the Ribblesdale, with another notable being Goodwood Listed winner Mori, who is by Frankel out of the high class Midday.

There are 17 left in Thursday's Group 1 feature, the Gold Cup, including last year's winner Order Of St George and the well-fancied Big Orange.

Order Of St George's trainer Aidan O'Brien said on Friday: "It's a case of so far so good. He's in good form and we're happy with him."

Going change

Connections of Big Orange, who want fast ground, will be heartened by the fact that clerk of the course Chris Stickels on Friday changed the ground to good to firm, good in places, from good, good to firm in places, after another dry day.

He said: "I've just changed the going report as we've not watered today and it reflects conditions after a dry day. We'll water tonight and tomorrow and take another view after that."

ITV weather expert Lucy Verasamy said: "After a heatwave this weekend, with temperatures peaking at 32C in the south-east on Monday, it's a more comfortable 26C for the start of Royal Ascot on Tuesday, before temperatures slide to nearer normal for the time of year – dry and sunny with barely a breeze.

"Hints of a change to cooler, potentially wetter conditions come next weekend, but it'll be a slow process and there's a chance of a short-lived surge of heat and humid air from the continent by the end of the week. Highs of near 29C are possible again, bringing a risk of thundery downpours on Friday.”

Limato jockey

Limato is one who could probably do without any significant break in the weather at the end of next week, with the Diamond Jubilee's 5-1 favourite best on quick ground. 

Who takes over from Harry Bentley, with owner Paul Jacobs wanting a change of jockey, has yet to be confirmed, although Plan A is Ryan Moore, who won the race last year for Limato's trainer Henry Candy on Twilight Son.

Candy said on Friday: "Riding arrangements are still up in the air. Ryan was going to ride, but that was before plans changed for Acapulco and she was unable to run in the King's Stand and re-directed.

"I think it's fair to say, though, if Acapulco doesn't run next Saturday then Ryan would be on board."

Royal Ascot Thursday card

I've just changed the going report as we've not watered today and it reflects conditions after a dry day
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