15 September 2022

Sacred ‘in a better place’ but Newbury could be final run

15 September 2022

One-time Classic contender Sacred drops to Listed class for what could be the final outing of her career in the Dubai Duty Free Cup at Newbury.

The William Haggas-trained filly has been campaigned exclusively in Group-race company since making a winning debut at Newmarket in 2020, during which time she has won the Nell Gwyn and the Hungerford Stakes and finished second in the Flying Childers, the Lowther and the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.

She made a promising start this year when beaten just a length into fifth place in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes in June, but has failed to build on that effort in either the Lennox at Goodwood or the York Stakes on her last two starts.

Chris Richardson, managing director for owners Cheveley Park Stud, admits Friday’s seven-furlong contest could be the last chance saloon.

He said: “She’s disappointed us the last couple of times and I don’t know what happened really, she just didn’t really put it in at York. We’ll see how we go this time.

“She always preferred top of the ground, so I’m a little bit nervous about the ground, but William is keen to give her what I suspect could be her final spin, unless she wins very easily.

“I think she’s in a good place, a better place than she’s been all year almost on what I’m seeing on the gallops.

“We’ve changed one or two things and I’m hoping we might see an improvement. If not then I suspect she’ll be whisked off to the paddocks.”

Jumby with connections after winning the Hungerford Stakes (Steve Paston/PA) (PA Wire)

Sacred is part of a seven-strong field which also includes Eve Johnson Houghton’s Jumby, who won the Hungerford over the course and distance last month before failing to fire at York a week later.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s recent Haydock scorer Saleymm and Andrew Balding-trained hat-trick seeker Shine So Bright are also set to face the starter.

An intriguing undercard features the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes, a race previously won by future stars like Shergar, Rainbow Quest and Nayef.

Likely contenders for this year’s renewal include Richard Hannon’s impressive Newmarket scorer Classic and Highbank, who made a big impression his July Course debut for Charlie Appleby in July.

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