19 April 2019
The Ryan Moore-ridden Heavenly Holly (9/1), by Shamardal, held on by a fast-diminishing length from Island of Life (9/2) to give Classic-winning trainer Hugo Palmer a first win on AWC Finals Day in the £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies' And Mares' Championship, a seven-furlong race in which his first runner five years ago, High Time Too, finished second.
Newmarket-based Palmer said: "Heavenly Holly was very impressive when she won the novice at Wolverhampton and she was then beaten only three-quarters of a length when fifth in a Listed race in France over an extra half furlong. She might have been beaten three-quarters of a length here if she'd had to go another half furlong!
"She's a real testament to patient owners, because so many owners push you into running horses before they are ready. These guys (racing as Hunscote Stud Limited) have been so patient."
Looking ahead he said: "The obvious target is to come back here on Trials Day for the Chartwell Stakes, but that's turf and Ryan says she wouldn't want extremes of ground. I've a feeling there's a six-furlong race for fillies at Ascot which might be an alternative, and there's also the Kilvington at Nottingham, so there are plenty of opportunities.
"Heavenly Holly is improving all the time. She did not start racing until October and I felt coming into the race that she was the filly with the potential to improve.
"It will be black type races exclusively now though, as she's got a pedigree to die for."
MOORE IN HEAVEN WITH HOLLY
Ryan Moore produced a fine front-running ride aboard 9/1 shot Heavenly Holly to capture the £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies' And Mares' Championship.
Trained by Hugo Palmer, the lightly-raced four-year-old daughter of Shamardal went clear entering the home straight and held on well in the closing stages to score by a length.
The William Haggas-trained Island Of Life (9/2) ran on strongly to finish second, with French raider Silvery Mist (11/1), trained by Fabrice Chappet, a further half-length back in third.
Moore, enjoying his fourth AWC Finals Day win, said: "Heavenly Holly is lightly-raced and she did it well today.
"Hugo said she ran a good race in France last time when she was fifth and I think the slightly easier track helped her today.
"She is a very straightforward filly and hopefully she'll get her Black Type at some point now."
HAGGAS SANGUINE ABOUT ISLAND OF LIFE
Island Of Life, sent off at 9/2 and trained in Newmarket by William Haggas and ridden by James Doyle, came home a length second to Heavenly Holly (9/1) in the third race on the card, the £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies' and Mares' Championship.
Maureen Haggas, wife of trainer William, represented the trainer and commented: "She was unlucky and got shuffled back coming down the hill.
"We got taken back to last by a slow one and then she ran a terrific race to come back to a length.
"The winner got the run of the race and we got into trouble, but she ran great. You have got to be happy with that.
"We have been second in a Listed race, and we would like to win one - so we will take it from there."
Doyle, added: "She was unlucky."