The first round of classic qualifiers for the Hedge Hunters’ Hurdles Championship took place at Newturf yesterday evening and this time the home team were saved their blushes, thanks to a commanding performance by Thompson Stud’s leading yearling, Devious.
Devious had shown a liking for this faster surface when bolting up in her Breeders’ Cup qualifier just a few days previous, recording the third fastest time overall and securing her berth in tonight’s final. Always going well, the daughter of Réarque de Céhème asserted her superiority in the closing stages to win a shade cosily.
Westfield Gardens’ Elle-Fruit was her closest pursuer but the one to go in the notebook was the Ecurie Marlioz92 owned filly, Mam’zel Mz who finished fourth. This Zalazl filly is a confirmed mudlark and would have been ill at ease on this firm ground. There might just be enough juice in the ground to see this filly reverse form with Devious in tonight’s Breeders’ Cup final and she rates a solid each-way bet.
The 2 year old heat looked ultra-competitive and a case could be made for many of the runners going into the race but in reality few were to get into it. Straight into the lead from the off was the Barnes Stable owned filly, Empress Wei. However, she was soon passed by the strong-pulling Golden Gun who never settled, went much too quickly and was a spent force by the time the field entered the straight. Here, Empress Wei regained control and although she was harried all the way to line, none was able to pass her. This was another boost for her stallion, Medicine Man, who was responsible for the sprint trial winner, Medicina Fer yesterday and also the fourth home here, Sheriff’s Star.
Minor honours here went to Johnny60’s Wealthy devil with Servante De Al back in third place.