It took Tickled Pink four races across two short campaigns to lose her maiden tag, with Henry Cecil’s filly finally ending a streak of silver medals when taking a modest Yarmouth heat at odds of 2/13.
Given the faltering start to her career, her entry in last month’s Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket may have looked more than a shade ambitious, but the four-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit put in a dominant run to hold off a high class field – many of whom will reoppose in the Duke Of York.
Cecil’s filly came home two lengths ahead of Jimmy Styles, with Hawkeyethenoo, Angels Will Fall, The Cheka and Tiddliwinks all a further three lengths or more behind. That HQ contest was fought out over 6f on good-to-firm ground and the variables are set to be identical when the sextet face off once more on the Knavesmire.
Her handler has endured some recent big-race disappointment with favourite Hot Snap failing to get competitive in the 1000 Guineas, but in Tickled Pink he may have a sprinter with whom he can gain some compensation for that heartache. After her Group 3 success Cecil told the Racing Post “she´ll improve a lot when we get some better weather” so it’s reasonable to expect a good deal of improvement from that run.
There is still the small matter of Roger Charlton’s Mince – the 5/2 ante-post favourite is on a five-timer here – who posted a career-best performance when routing a Listed field at York over six furlongs on her penultimate start of 2012 to contend with.
However in her Abernant victory Tickled Pink beat a field that was, at least in official ratings terms, as good as any the Charlton filly has overcome to-date and having had the experience of less than half as many career races she can improve past the market leader.
Tickled Pink should also have a fitness advantage over that rival, as the Duke Of York will be the seasonal jump-off for Mince, whereas the former has already had the benefit of a warm-up run -Henry Cecil’s grey can be backed for Dante meeting success at 4/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.