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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Bell opts for Cheveley Park Stakes as next test for Pretty Pollyanna

Pretty Pollyanna: Prix Morny winner is set to run in the Cheveley Park Stakes on September 29
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Qipco 1,000 Guineas favourite Pretty Pollyanna will stay at home rather than travel to Ireland for her next start, trainer Michael Bell has revealed.

The Gredley family-owned filly, winner of the Prix Morny last time, is a best-priced 10-1 market leader for the Guineas next May and the plan now is to further test those credentials in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 29.

Bell said: "Pretty Pollyanna will not be going to Ireland next weekend for the Moyglare Stud Stakes. One reason is that the ground may well be on the soft side over there, which she's never raced on.

"Also, the logistics of getting her there are not appealing, and we feel the short trip to Newmarket for the Cheveley Park makes more sense."

John Dunlop service

A service of thanksgiving for the late Classic-winning trainer John Dunlop will be held in London a week on Wednesday.

Dunlop, who died in July at the age of 78, won the Derby with Shirley Heights and Erhaab and saddled more than 3,500 winners in an illustrious career. His racing legacy has continued through the successful training careers of his sons Ed and Harry. 

The service will be held at St Paul's in Knightsbridge.

Racecourses fined

Leicester and Worcester racecourses have been fined £5,000 and £3,000 respectively connected to failings over boxes at race meetings.

Leicester's fine dates from their fixture on June 16, when the sampling box was found to be unclean and did not meet the ‘scrupulously clean and hygienic’ standard required.

Worcester's fine was from their meeting on July 4, when the required hygiene clean of the racecourse stables had not been carried out to a sufficient standard.

Urban Aspect on the move

Urban Aspect, ante-post favourite for the Cambridgeshire with most firms, will not run at Newmarket as he has been sold to continue his career in Hong Kong.

Trainer Andrew Balding said an offer "impossible to refuse" was made for the three-year-old Cityscape colt and Kingsclere homebred, who looked a potential stakes-race performer when beating Crack On Crack On in a valuable mile handicap at York's Ebor meeting.

"Urban Aspect has been sold to race on for Tony Cruz in Hong Kong and will not run in the Cambridgeshire," said Balding.

"It is always a tough call as we felt the horse had a bright future but the levels of interest shown made it impossible to refuse."

Urban Aspect: ante-post favourite for the Cambridgeshire

Urban Aspect, winner of three of his four starts in Britain, was made 12-1 joint-favourite alongside Stylehunter by Ladbrokes and Coral for the Cambridgeshire.

Kynren, Alfarris and Danceteria are among those also towards the head of the market for the big 1m1f handicap on September 29.

Ben Curtis out for two weeks

Jockey Ben Curtis will be on the sidelines for longer than first expected after damaging his shoulder in a fall at Newcastle on Friday.

Curtis, 29, is having his best-ever season with 102 winners notched up and over £1 million in prize-money banked after developing fruitful relationships with trainers David Barron and Karl Burke.

The rider was unseated after winning the 2m½f handicap on Sugarloaf Mountain at Newcastle and taken to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

Ben Curtis: facing two weeks out of action

Initially, the rider was thought to have escaped with no serious injury, but wrote on Twitter on Saturday night: "The ups and downs of this game. Unfortunately [my] shoulder injury is a bit worse than first expected [and I'm] out for a couple of weeks. An unfortunate event but it could have been a lot worse."

With Curtis on the sidelines the big ride aboard Havana Grey in the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five at the Curragh next Sunday is up for grabs. 

Death of former trainer Jack Banks

Jack Banks, who retired from training at the start of the millennium, has died shortly after his 84th birthday.

The former Newmarket trainer, born in Bolton, had a lifetime in racing and was associated with many top horses in his time in Newmarket before he started training.

Lifelong friend Geoff Huffer said: “Jack was a fantastic judge of a horse and a very genuine man, and lived most of his life in Newmarket. He rode work for trainer Bernard van Cutsem, riding his good two-year-old Crowned Prince among many good horses.

“He assisted me for ten years when I was training and it was Jack who introduced me to Phil Cunningham, leading directly to getting his 2,000 Guineas winner Cockney Rebel.

“He had not been well for some time, suffering strokes – it is very sad.”

Jimmy Quinn, who rode many winners for Banks, said: “As a trainer he was an absolute gentleman to ride for and I don’t think we ever had a crossed word.

“I rode out there three or four mornings a week and he put me on horses in big Group races and was an easy man to ride for.”

Among the good horses Banks trained were Wokingham runner-up and Goodwood Golden Mile third Prince Babar and Hot Tin Roof for owner Giles Pritchard-Gordon.

He enjoyed success on the Flat and over jumps, notably with Bottles, and saddled Indhar to finish sixth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Kielan Woods breaks collarbone

Kielan Woods is hoping to be back in a couple of weeks after breaking his collarbone in a final-fence fall at Stratford on Saturday.

Woods had just got to the front on the Graeme McPherson-trained favourite Alexander The Grey looking poised to register his tenth winner of the season.

"Hopefully I will be back in a couple of weeks and I am going for an X-ray tomorrow but it doesn't seem too bad," said the 25-year-old freelance.

"I broke my hip and pelvis last summer and missed seven months, the first half of the season, so it could have been worse."

Woods, who rides McPherson's horses and has backing from Ben Case, Alex Hales and Pam Sly, came back strongly from that injury to ride 28 winners and has targetted 30 this season.

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We feel the short trip to Newmarket for the Cheveley Park makes more sense
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