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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:26am Monday 16th June 2014 in Sport
Having shown her worth at the highest level on more than one occasion last season, Secret Gesture can earn a deserved return to the winner's enclosure in the Voute Sales Warwickshire Oaks at Nottingham.
Switched to Colwick Park due to Warwick's track problems, the Listed contest has attracted a quality field of 11 fillies and mares, with Ralph Beckett's Secret Gesture the undoubted star of the show.
The daughter of Galileo found only stable companion Talent too strong in the Investec Oaks at Epsom little over a year ago and she backed that up with two more excellent efforts in the German Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks.
She made her four-year-old debut in last month's Middleton Stakes at York and lost nothing in defeat, finding only Ambivalent too strong, a mare with Group One-winning form who was race-fit following a fine display in Dubai.
Secret Gesture should derive plenty of improvement from her run on the Knavesmire and with the return to a faster surface not an issue, connections are likely to be disappointed if she is unable to make the most of this gilt-edged opportunity.
The Jennie Candlish-trained veteran Maoi Chinn Tire is worth chancing in the Join Us For Sports Night Tomorrow Handicap.
The seven-year-old is best known for causing a 200-1 shock in the Wensleydale Hurdle at Wetherby a few years ago, but he is a fair sort on his day, winning over hurdles, fences, on the all-weather and on the turf on the level.
He has not been seen in competitive action since running down the field at Wolverhampton in November, but interestingly he won first time out in 2012 and 2013 so he may actually be at his best when fresh.
He has won at Nottingham before, on fast ground, so everything points to another bold show.
The booking of apprentice of the moment Oisin Murphy can only enhance his claims.
Richard Hannon has his string firing on all cylinders ahead of Royal Ascot and should add to his tally on the eve of the big meeting with Sunset Sail at Windsor.
The Arcano colt finished fifth behind Ascot aspirant Moonraker on his debut at the Berkshire track and the subsequent successes of the second and third gives the form an extremely solid look.
Sunset Sail let down odds-on backers on his next appearance in testing conditions at Salisbury, but should make amends in Windsor's EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.
The only afternoon Flat meeting comes from Carlisle, where Salvatore Fury is no forlorn hope in the Molson Coors Handicap.
Keith Dalgleish's four-year-old won here and twice at Hamilton during a profitable 2013 campaign, also picking up place money on numerous occasions.
He ran a fair race when third on his return at Ayr and although he has disappointed twice since, at least that has led to some relief from the handicapper.
Salvatore Fury is now only 3lb higher than when bolting up in Scotland last summer and it would be no surprise to see him bounce back, with the excellent Graham Lee getting on board for the first time.
Newton Abbot keeps the flag flying for National Hunt racing, with August Hill the banker of the day as she aims to complete a four-timer for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson in the opening SIS At The Heart of Racing Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
CARLISLE: 2.15 Miss Van Gogh, 2.45 Grand Proposal, 3.15 Salvatore Fury, 3.45 Mercers Row, 4.15 Jive, 4.45 Ellaal, 5.15 Dancin Alpha, 5.45 Clear Spell.
NEWTON ABBOT: 2.30 August Hill, 3.00 Taffy Thomas, 3.30 Revani, 4.00 Able Deputy, 4.30 Dais Return, 5.00 Wicklewood, 5.30 Border Station.
NOTTINGHAM: 6.20 Dominic Cork, 6.50 Barbs Princess, 7.20 It Must Be Faith, 7.50 SECRET GESTURE (NAP), 8.20 Pink Lips, 8.50 Maoi Chinn Tire.
WINDSOR: 6.05 Highlife Dancer, 6.35 Sunset Sail, 7.05 Shar Shar, 7.35 Tidentime, 8.05 Pleasure Bent, 8.35 Igider, 9.05 Allergic Reaction.
DOUBLE: Secret Gesture and Sunset Sail.
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