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Burke confident Fallen Angel will stay Guineas trip

Karl Burke has never won a British Classic, but that could all change on Sunday when Fallen Angel goes for Qipco 1000 Guineas glory at Newmarket.

The daughter of Too Darn Hot won three of her four starts last season, travelling to Ireland and returning to North Yorkshire with Group One honours having picked up the Moyglare Stud Stakes on her final start of the year.

That victory established her as a Guineas contender and she is towards the head of the betting lists with dreams intact and the big race fast approaching following an encouraging racecourse gallop on the Rowley Mile last month.

Burke said: “From the end of last season, the plan was always to go straight to the Guineas. Steve (Parkin, owner) likes to keep the dream alive, the filly has run four times and she’s a clean-winded filly, so there was never really any need to go for a race.

“The mile holds no qualms, she should improve for the mile. If you watch all her races, she’s doing her best work at the end, she doesn’t do a lot when she hits the front and even in her racecourse gallop, Danny (Tudhope) gave her a little slap to keep her mind on it. She’ll probably stay further, to be honest.

“She takes everything in her stride and that’s why at home she probably gets a little bit lazy. She’s a bit of an idle workhorse at home, which is why we took her down to Newmarket and she stayed overnight, so it was a whole raceday scenario for her.”

This is not the first time the Spigot Lodge handler has headed to Newmarket with a leading Classic contender and Burke suffered 1000 Guineas heartbreak in 2018 when Laurens was denied by rank outsider Billesdon Brook.

Laurens would go on to provide her team with their sole Classic success in that year’s French Oaks, but Burke is now ready to open his account on home soil, as Fallen Angel is joined at the start by May Hill winner Darnation.

“She’s a different type of filly to Laurens, certainly in her work and in her run style,” continued Burke.

“Laurens was very exuberant, had a huge stride on her and used to work very well, whereas Fallen Angel is quite a lazy workhorse and saves her best for the track.

“We think we’re going to arrive there in good form. We’ve been lucky enough to win the French Oaks, we’ve been second in the English Derby and second in the 1000 Guineas with Laurens, so it would be fantastic to add a British Classic to the CV.”

Fallen Angel bypassed the season-ending Fillies’ Mile over the 1000 Guineas course and distance, with Aidan O’Brien’s Ylang Ylang taking advantage to bounce back to her best and put herself in Classic contention.

However, it was Andrew Balding’s See The Fire who went into plenty of notebooks that day, having hung away her chance of victory and going down by just a length and a half in third, and she would be a popular winner for owner-breeder Jeff Smith.

Balding said: “We’ve been very happy with her. It’s obviously her first run of the year but we’ve been delighted with her so far and we keep our fingers crossed that if she brings her A game, she will be thereabouts.

“We’ve only really stepped her up the last five weeks, but she has done nothing wrong at home.

“I feel she’s right up there with the other fillies, but she’s still learning, so hopefully inexperience won’t be a problem. She’s certainly got the class to run a good race.”

It is not just Fallen Angel representing the north, with Nell Gwyn scorer Pretty Crystal supplemented into the contest for £30,000 earlier this week.

Richard Fahey’s runner will have to prove her stamina on her first attempt at a mile, but Philip Robinson, racing manager for owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, feels there is no finer race for connections to roll the dice.

He said: “Why not (have a go) and I think we have every chance. She’s proved she likes and handles the track, which is always a big benefit, and I loved the way she battled when the Godolphin horse came at her in the Nell Gwyn. She’s got a big heart and that’s what you need in these races.

“She’s not guaranteed to get the mile, but you have to take your chance and I think, all being well, she will get the trip. If you are going to try, you may as well try it in a Guineas.”

Charlie Appleby’s Dance Sequence is backed to relish the extra furlong of this assignment, having chased home Pretty Crystal last month.

“She ran a lovely trial in the Nell Gwyn and naturally she is going to improve for it,” said jockey William Buick, who teamed up with the Appleby-trained Notable Speech to win Saturday’s 2000 Guineas.

“I think stepping up to a mile is really going to suit her and she finished really well last time.”

Appleby will also saddle the unbeaten Cinderella’s Dream, as Godolphin search for back-to-back race victories after Mawj struck last term, while Donnacha O’Brien will bid to join his father on the roll of honour, with Porta Fortuna not only a Royal Ascot champion but a course winner in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes.

There is an international flavour to the race provided by Ramatuelle, with France’s Christopher Head attempting to add a British Classic to the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane he captured in his homeland with Blue Rose Cen.

One of France’s leading two-year-olds last season – best known to a UK audience when pushing Vandeek all the way in the Prix Morny – she returned with a pleasing effort to finish second in the Prix Imprudence at Deauville, with her trainer hoping that will have put her spot-on for the big occasion.

“The run was important, as she’s a filly who holds a lot of energy and it will make it better to control her. She’s full of energy and really has a strong heart, which we saw last time,” said Head.

“The ground was awful, she was keen but she still finished the race, which makes us think the Guineas will suit. We’re not worried about the travel, she’s an easy filly.

“It’s a strong field. When we come to England or Ireland, we know we are going to face the best in Europe.

“Of course, we come with a certain humility and it’s not the same type of track, so we take that into account, but we feel the filly has something special that could actually suit that type of track, although you can’t be sure, as we are against the best horses and trainers in Europe.

“She’s really special because she’s really precocious. Justify is a tremendous stallion in the making. She’s special for me because she’s pretty much the only one I have made as a sprinter, following the sprint programme, so training her at three is a challenge.

“But it will show it is possible to have a big season at two and a very nice season at three. We did it with Blue Rose Cen, but it wasn’t the same profile.

“She always showed a lot in the mornings and of course everything is about the mind – and she has a strong one.”