Gavota puts Classic credentials on the line at Newbury

Newmarket or Paris could beckon for smart filly

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Gavota bids to earn herself a tilt at Classic glory in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury.

Roger Charlton’s filly won her first two starts last summer, before placing in the Rockfel Stakes and Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket in the autumn.

She was runner-up to Altyn Orda in the latter contest and that form received a timely boost after the winner finished second in the Nell Gwyn Stakes on Wednesday.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Gavota’s owner, Khalid Abdullah, said: “She probably didn’t quite handle the dip as well as some of the others, but she ran very decently in both races at Newmarket and the form of the second race looks solid after the Nell Gwyn.

“She’s a neat, smallish filly and she still has a winter coat on her, but the coat itself is gleaming so she’s in good shape. Most fillies will be the same, I imagine, given the winter we’ve had.”

Gavota is a general 33-1 shot for the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6, but Grimthorpe has raised the possibility of sidestepping the Rowley Mile Classic in favour of a trip across the Channel.

He added: “I don’t want to say she’d have to win to run in the Guineas, with all these races you just have to see.

“If she won very well then Prince Khalid would have to make a decision about where he wants to go, but I would think if she won well she might be more of a French Guineas type.

“The whole point of these trials is to find out exactly where we are.”

Gavota faces 10 rivals in a seven-furlong Group Three better known as the Fred Darling.

Perhaps her biggest threat is the Richard Hannon-trained Tajaanus, who won at Listed and Group Three level last season before disappointing in the May Hill at Doncaster.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “Tajaanus has wintered really well according to Richard and he is extremely happy with her heading into Saturday’s race.

“She is a daughter of Arcano, so whether she stays a mile will be interesting in time, but that is why we are running, so we can see what sort of plans we could make for her this season.

“She is entered in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. I don’t think she probably is good enough to run in that race, but Saturday will tell us everything.”

Tajaanus is one of three Hannon representatives along with stablemates Natural and All Out.

Hikmaa won a Listed prize over the course and distance on her latest appearance in October, having previously finished behind Gavota on a couple of occasions.

Trained Ed Vaughan has booked Frankie Dettori to partner his filly for the first time this weekend.

“She hasn’t grown much since last year, but she seems in good form and it will be good to get her going,” said the Newmarket-based handler.

“She’s won at the track over seven furlongs in soft ground, so with the ground staying soft we thought this was as good a starting point as any.

Gavota puts Classic credentials on the line at Newbury

Newbury 14:35, 21 April 2018

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