Juniper Berries pounces to pick up Dick Poole prize

Eve Johnson Houghton’s Juniper Berries pounced late to land the Ire-Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury.

The two-year-old was sent off at 16-1 in the Group Three affair under Charlie Bishop, despite a consistent campaign thus far this year.

A winner on debut, the daughter of Expert Eye was second to Relief Rally in a novice before coming home a solid fourth in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.

She was well beaten in the Super Sprint but regained her form to finish second in the Alice Keppel at Goodwood and then fourth when beaten a little over length in the Listed St Hugh’s Stakes when last seen.

Up in trip to six furlongs and back up in grade at Salisbury, the filly was ridden patiently to best utilise her speed and as the line approached she threw down her challenge to collar the front-running Dorothy Lawrence and prevail by a short head.

Johnson Houghton said: “I thought the step up to six (furlongs) would help, I thought the firm ground would help.

“She’s been running over five in soft ground and she deserved this, every time she ran at Newbury she never got any cover.

“We knew she had an amazing turn of foot, but it was just getting her to use it at the right time.

“We all made a plan, the owners and I, that we’d drop her in and if she didn’t get there on time then she didn’t get there on time.

“The last thing we wanted to do was get there too early and stop, she has a wicked turn of foot but it’s not a very long turn of foot.

“I’m thrilled. Look at the size of her, she does herself really well and she’s on the grow again I think.

“She’ll be a lovely filly for next year and they’ve (the owners) got the stud, so it’s great for them. What a star. Good old Junie, we love her!”

Ralph Beckett’s Skellet got off the mark with a convincing success in the Bob Mccreery Memorial British EBF Quidhampton Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Under Rossa Ryan the Kingman bay was the 5-6 favourite after being beaten just a length when fourth on debut at Sandown in August.

In a field of nine she was this time a straightforward winner, by a length and a quarter ahead of Richard Hannon’s Serene Seraph.

“I was very pleased. She’s a bit raw, she’s a big, tall, gangly filly,” Beckett said.

“Her sister, Skitter Skatter, was the size of a pony and she won a Moyglare for Patrick Prendergast – this filly is completely different.

“She was a bit antsy behind the gates, she’s still looking around.”

On future plans the trainer added: “She’s a nice filly, one for next year. It’s likely we’ll take a more conservative view, I don’t know what trip she’ll end up getting, we hope a mile but we’ll find out next year.”

Frankness (13-2) was a fitting winner of the European Bloodstock News EBF ‘Lochsong’ Fillies’ Handicap for Oisin Murphy and Andrew Balding.

The race is named in honour of the great sprinter, a 15-time winner owned by Jeff Smith who dominated the sprint scene in the early nineties.

Frankess runs in the same silks and as Lochsong was trained by Balding’s father Ian, the victory particularly apt for the owner of both horses.

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