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Silky Hughes in his pomp at July Festival

One filly was extending an immaculate start to her career, winning for the third time in three starts; the other, in contrast, redressed a sequence of misadventures that measured the odds against any such seamless reward.

In both cases, however, the agency of fulfilment was the same: the silky hands and steel-girder confidence of Richard Hughes.

The sight of Hughes so obviously in his pomp has been one of the more gorgeous blooms of this parched summer.

And yesterday, on the opening afternoon of the July Festival, he produced another pair of peaches.

In both cases he appeared late and fast, with an insouciance that would long have deserted lesser jockeys, running out of time and space in the day's two biggest races.

First there was Memory, who confirmed herself already a luminous prospect for next year's 1,000 Guineas when retrieving what seemed a desperate situation in the most leisurely fashion in the ITM Cherry Hinton Stakes. Trained by Richard Hannon for a Highclere syndicate, she had won a maiden at Goodwood and then the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and duly started hot favourite here.

But she began too freely, and Hughes was obliged to settle her behind rivals; as they began weakening into her path, he found himself trapped and it was well inside the final furlong, with Soraaya in full cry, before he could angle wide to challenge.

At the post, however, Hughes was three-quarters of a length in front and already pulling up.

Memory will be tried over a seventh furlong in the Moyglare Stakes at the Curragh next month, but Hannon is confident she will get a mile next year.

Harry Herbert, the Highclere manager, admitted that he had been anxious. “He's ridden her very confidently,” he said. “But then Richard is very confident at the moment! He said she's a filly that almost enjoys that trouble. He knew there was a lot of gas left in the tank. Looking at her make and shape, and pedigree, you would hope she'll go on improving.

“And her work — well, normally when you go and see them work, they're like diseased goats. But when I saw this filly just given a little squeeze and she went four or five lengths clear. It was a rare sight.”

Memory certainly has the plausible look of a Guineas filly, 8-1 favourite with Totesport, but the travails of Music Show in her own Classic campaign this year will temper excitement.

Hopelessly marooned by the draw in the Guineas, she only accumulated fresh excuses at the Curragh and Royal Ascot.

Ridden for the first time by Hughes, however, she was dropped out before coasting through to cut down Spacious in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes.

Lillie Langtry and Special Duty, who had beaten Music Show at Ascot and over the Rowley Mile respectively, this time trailed in only fifth and seventh of eight.

Unable to fend off the persistent Skyway over a mile here three weeks ago, Smart Striking should manage to retrieve that evening's losses with the twin benefits of first-time blinkers and a furlong shorter to travel.

A casualty over hurdles last month in Listowel, Napa Starr had succeeded previously at Navan for Berry and Byrnes over the mile trip of the Fernleigh Handicap and can do so again despite the strong claims of Inwood, Simla Sunset and Solid Air.

In between, Smullen could have his turn as Dermot Weld saddles their narrow Curragh runner-up Be My Storm against the higher-rated but more-exposed Maverick Man in what would appear a match for the Tote Jackpot Guarantee Maiden.

Smullen is relegated to a fairly rare spectator's role for the Bulmers Original Handicap in which the progressive top weight Bob Le Beau and young Shane Foley can complete a hat-trick for Jessica Harrington's stable.

In the same race, Berry and Murtagh team up with Ripon and Fairyhouse maiden scorers Celendine and Zerashan respectively on their initial outings in handicap company.

Fans of Murtagh could have their reward following the concluding Avoca Maiden, where he takes over from Seamus Heffernan on Quest For Gold, which left an initial ordinary outing as a juvenile in the shade on his return at the Curragh recently when third to Akzar and Be My Storm, suggesting the Sadler's Wells colt can outstay Simkana and Midnight Soprano now.

The ‘Duke Special' Apprentice Handicap is best left to Tom Hogan's Sligo runner-up Blackwitch Woman, while the step up to a mile and six furlongs would look ideal for sporting nap selection Articilitis in the Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap.

Belfast Telegraph