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Harley gears up for shot at Cup success

By Nicki Robson

Published 09/07/2016

Out in front: Ulster jockey Martin Harley steers Naafer to victory at York yesterday
Out in front: Ulster jockey Martin Harley steers Naafer to victory at York yesterday

Ulster jockey Martin Harley - who rides favourite Twilight Son in today's big race, the Darley July Cup at Newmarket - has tipped Naafer for the top after the pair triumphed in the Coopers Maiden Stakes at York.

Naafer broke her duck at the third time of asking. The William Haggas-trained Oasis Dream filly had finished second in her first two outings and was sent off the 6-5 favourite to go one better.

The race looked over when Harley's partner hit the front two furlongs out, but the David O'Meara newcomer Fashion Queen made good progress to lay down a challenge and kept the favourite honest to the line, going down by a length.

Naafer is a full sister to Ertijaal, whom Haggas trained to good effect a few years ago.

Harley said: "It was a funny race. We split into two groups early on, despite the stalls being on the rail.

"I wanted to make the running but they went very quick for the first furlong and a half out.

"When I made my move I probably went too early but she showed a good attitude and will certainly win again."

Meanwhile, Architecture will be supplemented for the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh next Saturday.

Runner-up in the Epsom Oaks, connections will pay 40,000 euro in their quest to go one better.

Architecture was last seen finishing eighth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and had an encouraging workout in partnership with Frankie Dettori in Newmarket yesterday.

Trainer Hugo Palmer said: "I've been waiting for her to come to herself since Ascot.

"She has looked better and better as the days have gone past and Frankie came and had a sit on her for the first time since Ascot.

"He was delighted with the feeling she gave him and the intention between now and Tuesday is to supplement."

Robbie McNamara made a dream start to his training career when his first ever runner won at Cork last night.

Chadic was sent off at 12-1 in the Mallow Maiden Hurdle and delivered with a two-length verdict under Conor Brassil.

McNamara's riding career was brought to an end when he suffered severe spinal injuries in a fall at Wexford last year.

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