Dunlop hoping sisters will provide answer to EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series conundrum

Thu 18 Aug 2016

Trainer Ed Dunlop saddles the half-sisters Sagaciously and Sagely at Goodwood on Wednesday (July 27th) as the new £625,000 EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series reaches its halfway point with a highly competitive ten-runner renewal of the EBF Breeders’ Series Veuve Clicquot Fillies’ Handicap.

This £30,000 mile and a quarter contest is the tenth leg of a 20-race Series which reaches its conclusion at Newmarket on Saturday October 1st with the staging of its final four races, which are each worth £50,000.

The four-year-old Sagaciously has already got her head in front in one of the earlier Series races, when triumphing in a £20,000 event at Doncaster on May 14th.

Her two subsequent starts have both been in Listed company, when a fine fifth in the EBF Stallions Nottinghamshire Oaks on June 1st and then when fifth again in atrocious conditions in the Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket three weeks later.

A year younger, Sagely also ran in a Listed affair on her latest start, when suffering serious interference in the EBF Stallions Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle, and has been given over a month to recover from that experience.

Earlier, she ran away with a handicap at Ripon on May 15th and then chased home Diploma at York six days later.

Dunlop is not the only trainer to be two-handed in this wide open handicap – Mark Johnston is represented by both last year’s German Group 3 winner, Dessertoflife, and the well-bred Kiltara, who is returning from a nine-month lay-off.

Other leading candidates are Sir Michael Stoute’s Intimation, a half-sister to the recent Group 2 Summer Mile hero, Mutakayyef, and the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Rioca, absent since finishing second in the Listed EBF Stallions Montrose Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket last October.

The aim of the EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series is to give valuable opportunities to those fillies that fall just below black type level, encouraging their owners and owner-breeders to keep them in training rather than sell them for export or retire them.

A collaboration between the British Horseracing Authority, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the British European Breeders’ Fund (BEBF), over £300,000 of its total prizemoney has been contributed by the BEBF, which itself is funded by British Stallion Farms.

Ed Dunlop, trainer of Sagaciously and Sagely, said:

“Sagaciously has to give a lot of weight and I am not sure that she will be up to giving 15lbs to her little sister, Sagely. But she is in good form and will appreciate the better ground at Goodwood having hated the heavy surface at Newmarket last time.”

“Sagely was pretty much knocked over at Newcastle and should be better suited by turf than the tapeta she ran on that day.”

“The form of her York second was boosted when Diploma won a Listed race last Friday and she has been trained specifically with this race in mind.”

“I am great fan of this new EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series. I think that it is fantastic and long may it continue.”