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Barry Hills Puts Guineas Fillies on Trial at Newmarket

Lambourn trainer Barry Hills is set to unleash 1000 Guineas hopefuls Spinning Lucy and Royal Confidence at Newmarket on Wednesday, April 16.

Spinning Lucy makes her seasonal bow in the £50,000 Group Three Leslie Harrison Memorial Nell Gwyn Stakes (3.45pm). The seven-furlong contest is one of the premier Classic trials and was won in 2006 by Speciosa en route to glory in the 1000 Guineas.

The Spinning World filly is held in high regard at Wetherdown House and convincingly landed the Listed EBF Bosra Sham Stakes over six furlongs of The NatWest Rowley Mile on November 2, her most recent outing.

Hills’ son and assistant, Charlie Hills, revealed this morning:

"Spinning Lucy is going to run in the Nell Gwyn and we’re very pleased
with her. Michael (Hills) came in the other morning and sat on her and he was happy. She has wintered well and looks good in her skin.

"She had a niggly problem early last season so she missed the middle part, but then once she had gained experience from a couple of runs, she really started to find her feet and did very well, winning twice at the back end. We have always thought quite a lot of her.

"The trip shouldn’t be a problem at all. She is beautifully relaxed and settled, so you could put her anywhere in a race."

Spinning Lucy, a 66-1 chance with the sponsor for the 1000 Guineas, is set to face 13 rivals in what looks sure to be a strong renewal of the Leslie Harrison Memorial Nell Gwyn Stakes, which includes the John Gosden-trained Infallible, a 16-1 chance with Stan James for the 1000 Guineas, and highly-rated Group Three winners Nijoom Dubai (33-1) and Albabilia.(50-1).

Hills is aiming Royal Confidence at the £30,000 Listed Making Betting Better On Newmarket High Street European Free Handicap (3.10pm), when she will face colts for the first time, including stable-mate Nacho Libre.

The Royal Applause filly, who carries 8st 13lb in the race, won a competitive Doncaster nursery in September before posting two fine efforts in Group company. Her juvenile campaign culminated in a third-place finish, one length behind Kitty Matchem, in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs of the NatWest Rowley Mile, in October.

Hills reported: "We are happy with the way Royal Confidence has wintered. She probably would not want the ground too soft, but it should be perfect at Newmarket. Seven furlongs is not a problem and we will have to just find out whether she stays a mile. We will see how she gets on this week and take it from there."

Connections are on something of a fact-finding mission with the speedily-bred Nacho Libre (8st 12lb), who does not hold an entry for the 2000 Guineas.

Hills continued: "Nacho Libre has been working well and he should run very nicely. He is a lovely looking horse and ran well last time at Doncaster. That form looks pretty good. I would think that he is a horse that is going to appreciate a bit of cut in the ground.

"He is by Kyllachy out of a Night Shift mare, so has plenty of speed. We will see how we get on this week and then see what sort of trip he is going to be running over throughout the rest of the season."

The Making Betting Better On Newmarket High Street European Free Handicap has attracted an 11-strong field, headed by the Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Spirit Of Sharjah (9st 7lb). The Newmarket handler has also engaged Group Two Richmond Stakes runner-up Fat Boy (9st 6lb) and Brave Prospector (8st 12lb).

Richard Hannon has declared Group Three Mill Reef Stakes third Berbice (9st 4lb), as well as Cake (8st 13lb), third in the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes on his final outing last term, while the field also includes the Brian Meehan-trained £250,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes winner Exclamation (8st 13lb).

The Craven Meeting is always exciting and informative and a traditional starting-point for a host of potential Classic contenders. The two-day meeting takes place at Newmarket’s NatWest Rowley Mile Racecourse on Wednesday, April 16 and Thursday, April 17.

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