Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Margot Did Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)

Margot Did Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)
Foaled in Ireland on March 17, 2008, Margot Did was a daughter of top-class Australian sprinter Exceed And Excel and proved to be a precocious, smart, if rather unlucky, two-year-old. Owned by Peter Phillip and Tim Redman, trained by Martin Bell at Fitzroy House in Newmarket and ridden, almost exclusively, by Hayley Turner, Margot Did won her maiden, over 6 furlongs, at Newbury at the first time of asking in May, 2010, and followed up, in effortless fashion, in a novice stakes race at Yarmouth ten days later. 

The following month she was stepped up in class in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, in which she was beaten a head, and so began a series of agonising near-misses over 6 furlongs in Pattern and Listed company. She was beaten half a length in the Princess Margaret Stakes, also at Ascot, in July, three-quarters of a length in the Lowther Stakes at York, in August, and a nose and a neck in the Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury, in September. On the final start of her two-year-old campaign, on her first attempt at Group One level, she finished fifth of 11, beaten 6¾ lengths, behind Hooray, who had beaten her in the Lowther Stakes. 

On her reappearance in April, 2009, Margot Did was again narrowly beaten, this time by a neck and half a length, in the Pavilion Stakes, again over 6 furlongs at Ascot. She attempted 5 furlongs for the first time on her next start, in a conditions stakes race at York in May and, despite a slipping saddle, finished a never-nearer fourth, beaten half a length, a head and a neck, behind odds-on favourite Night Carnation. 

Thereafter, a change of tactics saw Margot Did ridden more prominently over the minimum trip and she won her next two starts, the Scurry Stakes at Sandown, by 5 lengths, and the Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr, by a neck. Stepped back up to Group level, in the Sprint Stakes, also at Sandown, in July, she met Night Carnation on the same terms as at York but, having chased the leaders, faded inside the final furlong to finish fourth, beaten 4 lengths, behind her old rival. 

Nevertheless, Margot Did next lined up in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, for which she started 20/1 co-eighth choice of the 15 runners behind 11/4 favourite Hoof It, who’d readily won the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood under 10st on his previous outing. Once again ridden prominently, she took the overall lead on the stands’ side approaching the final furlong and kept on strongly to win by three-quarters of a length. Hamish McGonagall, who’d taken the stands’ side group along, finished second, with Prohibit, who’d tracked the leader on the far side, a further half a length away in third place. 

The victory was the second at Group One level for Hayley Turner, who’d already won the July Cup on Dream Ahead, and the second for a lady jockey in the Nunthorpe Stakes, after Alex Greaves dead-heated on Ya Malak in 1997. Sadly, Margot Did never won again, finishing last of 15, beaten 13½ lengths, in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp on the final start of her three-year-old campaign and failing to trouble the judge in five starts as a four-year-old before she was retired from racing in July, 2012.


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