Amanda Perrett hopes Lavender’s Blue can successfully complete the first part of an early season two-race plan formulated 12 months ago, by making a triumphant return in the Unibet Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton Park tomorrow.
The Pulborough trainer had intended to start the daughter of Sea The Stars, who contested the 2019 Oaks at Epsom Downs, in the feature Listed contest last year only for it to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Perrett reports the five year old, who is owned by ABBA’s Benny Andersson, to have wintered well and is optimistic her stable star can take the mile prize on route to a return to pattern race company in the Group Two Betfair Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on May 2nd.
She said: “She has had a really good winter. We are looking forward to getting going and she has been working well. She has not run at Kempton but she handled Lingfield well where she didn’t get a clear run. She bumped into a couple last season but that’s the way things go. Hopefully she can put her head in front on Monday.
“This was the plan this time last year to go for this before it was cancelled, then if all goes well she will go to the Dahlia next.
“She ran a really good race in the Nassau over a mile and a quarter last season but she just ran a bit free in the middle part of the race and didn’t quite get home. William Buick said she has plenty of speed so that is why we went back to a mile.”
Fooraat failed to build on her stylish winning return at Chelmsford City last year, but trainer Roger Varian believes the daughter of Dubawi can make her mark this season.
He said: “She didn’t beat much at Chelmsford first time out last season and she probably suffered as a consequence as she was rated 100 after two starts. She didn’t really handle the track at Epsom but she ran very well in France at Deauville when she was fourth and that form stands up pretty well while the heavy ground would have been against her that day.
“She has been working nicely this spring and we have targeted this race given she has shown a liking for a synthetic surface at both Newcastle and Chelmsford.
“She didn’t quite come together in stakes races last year but hopefully she will this year. Whether that is on Monday or later on we will have to see.”
Last season’s Italian Oaks third Made In Italy will attempt to follow up her comeback success at Newcastle by giving trainer Marco Botti a record-extending fourth success in the race.
Botti said: “She was third in the Italian Oaks then things didn’t quite go to plan in a Group Three there afterwards on heavy ground, so we put her away and gave her a nice break.
“She came back and I thought she won well off top weight at Newcastle where the stiff mile suited her and I expect her to come on from that. It is a competitive race but she seems in good form and we know she handles the surface.
“She has got a run under her belt which should give her a fitness advantage at this time of year.”
Botti is also represented by Pretty In Grey, who has won all three of her previous visits to the Sunbury track.
He added: “She always seems to run good races at Kempton. She is in good form and has wintered well. She managed to get some black type at the end of last season. Ideally we would like to secure some more black type and hopefully she will be up to it. Her preparation has gone smoothly and a mile seems to suit her.”
Meanwhile Classic-winning handler Varian is confident progressive stayer Postileo to take a step up to two miles in his stride in the Unibet 15 To Go Queen’s Prize Handicap.
He said: “There are some interesting types in the race but he is lightly raced and improved with racing last year. He has not run over two miles yet but he won over a mile and six at Salisbury on soft ground. I think he will get the trip and I expect him to run well.
“He was a slow burner and didn’t run at two but he progressed in all four starts last season and I’m hoping there is a bit more to come from him.”
Among his opponents is 2019 Italian St Leger winner Pretending, however Newmarket handler Botti admits the eight year old faces a tall order at the weights.
He said: “He has joined us from Italy. He is probably too high in the weights but Christian Howarth will be claiming seven pounds off him.
“He has run a couple of good races for us but he needs to come down a few pounds. He is a solid older horse that we hope to have a bit of fun with. He stays well so we will take our chance.”
El Drama is expected to appreciate racing over a mile for the first time in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Conditions Stakes according to Varian.
He said: “He is in good form and he ran very well at in a Listed race at Lingfield. He was a bit rusty that day and he would have found the seven furlongs too sharp.
“I think he has come forward for that run and is a colt we hold in high regard. I would expect him to run very well on Monday.”