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Hertford Dancer

Hertford Dancer ran a cracker to finish third in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Settled in third place behind the breakneck pace that The Sky Is Blazing set, she moved up on the outside of Serenada into second place around the home turn, and kicked for home.  She picked up The Sky Is Blazing on the run to the furlong pole and, fully three lengths clear at the furlong marker, it looked for a few strides as if she might last all the way to the line.  The fast early pace took its toll, however, and she was run down by Coronet and Mori, who finished well out towards the centre of the track, but she still kept on really gamely for third place.

This was a cracking effort by John Gosden’s filly.  She led the main group at a fast pace behind the breakaway pair The Sky Is Blazing and Serenada, in a race that was run to suit the hold-up fillies.  Given how prominently she was ridden, she did well to keep on as well as she did to retain third place.

She is a seriously improved filly.  She only won her maiden at Wolverhampton last December and she was rated just 76 when she won the Lingfield Oaks Trial.  She was the lowest-rated of the six fillies in the race, and was 23lb lower than the top-rated filly.  Her trainer was not tempted by the Oaks after that win, which was understandable, he had Enable and Shutter Speed as well as Coronet as possibles, so the Ribblesdale was the obvious target.  And Hertford Dancer stepped forward again in finishing third behind two high-class fillies in a contest in which she did not have the run of the race.

This was another career-best from the Foxwedge filly, she just continues to progress.  She is not a hugely fashionable filly, she was allowed go off at 16/1 here, but she is very likeable and she is progressive.  She was well beaten on soft ground on her racecourse debut, but she goes well on good ground and on this fast ground, and she will be of interest wherever she goes next.

Ascot, 22nd June 2017