All-railer Queen Mother draw sets a tough test for finalists.
WITH six railers in Sunday's final of the Queen Mother Memorial Cup at Sheffield, Mark Keightley's assessment that it's "fraught with danger" is not far short of the mark, writes John Forbes.
His wife Hayley's Huarache Madison was the fastest heat winner in 38.87sec (going -40) from trap two as she defeated Swift Marvelette by three and a quarter lengths in the popular 660-metre competition on Tuesday but now finds herself out in trap four.
Mark Keightley commented: "I was slightly concerned before the race as we'd only squeezed one trial into her after being off-colour, but once she broke in front there was never a worry.
"However, the draw for the final is fraught with danger, although Huarache Madison, who has had a few niggling problems throughout her career, has never been in a better place both in her body and her mind."
Patrick Janssens was a happy trainer after his Affleck Lady had accounted for Minnies Highway by a comfortable four lengths in 39.16sec. He said: "She never looked likely to be beaten after she led at the start."
However, he had something to worry about after the draw put his bitch in the stripes, a box she's never been in.
Some racegoers were shocked by the success of Acomb Ruby in heat three, but owner-trainer Kevin Ferguson was not surprised.
The Kinsley handler was sporting a large grin having "helped himself" to some 8-1 and watched the daughter of Kinloch Brae blow away the opposition with a flying start which carried her to a four-length verdict over Sidarian Blu Ray in 39.44sec.
"I was well happy," he said, "apart from the time, which was a bit slow. She was beaten in the final of the Cup in 2016 and went out in the heats last year, so I'm hoping it might be third time lucky."