Feature Story

Crystal ends Dance’s sequence to claim first Group race success

Crystal ends Dance’s sequence to claim first Group race success Apr 17, 2024

By Sam Turner - 

Pretty Crystal, racing in the colours of Sheikh Rashid bin Damook Al Maktoum, lowered the colours of the unbeaten Dance Sequence to bravely claim the G3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.

Trained by Richard Fahey and partnered by Oisin Orr, the daughter of Dubawi displayed great tenacity leaving the Dip to fend off her Godolphin rival in the closing stages to score by a hard-fought neck and land her first Pattern race victory.

It was a first defeat in three starts for the Charlie Appleby-trained Dance Sequence who, prior to this reverse, had been one of the leading contenders for next month’s 1000 Guineas.

However, she will have learned a great deal from the loss and looks likely to improve for the step up to 1600m in the first fillies’ Classic.

Fahey, who was landing his third Nell Gwyn, said: "It was a good, hardy performance and we're very pleased with her. She had to step up and she has done, so we're delighted.

"We haven't put her in the Guineas. She sort of stepped into Pattern company last year and was found wanting a bit. We'll speak to Bruce Raymond (racing manager) and Sheikh Rashid about supplementing her for the 1,000 Guineas and we'll work our way from there."


Ottoman Fleet, runner-up in the G1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan in January,  defended his Earl Of Sefton Stakes title in style to land the G3 contest for a second successive year to hand Appleby and rider William Buick some compensation for Dance Sequence’s defeat. 

The five-year-old travelled in his usual fluent style, moving smoothly into contention two furlongs from home for Buick who was at pains to produce his mount with one steady run.

With the minimum of fuss, the son of Sea The Stars eased to the front, taking two lengths out of the field with the race appearing over in a matter of strides.  

Although Astro King, the Cambridgeshire winner, closed to within a length at the line, the market leader was never in any serious danger as he repeated last year’s victory in cosy fashion. It was the five-year-old’s fourth course win from five starts.