James Tate is hoping Melodic Charm can upstage the colts in the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Spring Cup Stakes at Lingfield.
The daughter of Exceed And Excel showed she was up to taking on the boys when fourth to Streamline in the Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton on only her second start, after making a winning debut at Wolverhampton in August.
Saturday’s fast-track qualifier for the all-weather championships is a Listed contest, and Tate sees it as a good starting point on her return from a near six-month break.
“She’s an exciting, progressive filly, won first time and didn’t do anything wrong when she was fourth in the Sirenia,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“That was a Group Three, and she’s dropping back to Listed level. Again she’s up against the colts, but I’d like to think she’ll take another step forward and she should run a very big race.
“I think she’ll stay a mile in time. She’ll get this seven furlongs, no problem at all, and she’s a good-sized filly – so she looks the type that should progress. She’ll be given a few big-race entries, but we’ll take it one race at a time.”
Malotru won a Group Three in Italy as a juvenile and was not disgraced in two Group Twos, the Gimcrack and the Mill Reef Stakes on his subsequent starts.
Trainer Marco Botti reports the son of Casamento to be in great form and does not expect the step up from six furlongs to be an issue.
“Malotru wintered really well and looks great in his coat,” he said.
“He has been working nicely, and we always thought he would get seven furlongs as a three-year-old.
“If there is one place where a horse is going to get seven furlongs, it is at Lingfield. Andrea (Atzeni) won a Group Three on him in Italy last season, and we are ready to go.
“I thought he did well to win that race, considering it was only his second run and he was inexperienced.
“Malotru got checked a couple of times in the Gimcrack before staying on well – but we didn’t learn much in the Mill Reef. He didn’t settle and hung left, so nothing went to plan. Hopefully, we can move forward from that run and have a good season with him.”
Botti expects to be much wiser about the way ahead, after this weekend.
“He would have to drop back to six furlongs for Good Friday, and I don’t think that he is sharp enough for that trip around Lingfield,” he added.
“It will be interesting to see how he travels on Saturday, but I have my doubts about dropping him back to six on the course.
“This could be a stepping-stone for something like the Greenham Stakes if he was good enough, and we need to decide at some point whether to campaign him as a sprinter or a miler.
“I don’t think he is good enough for the English Guineas, but we have entered him in the German Guineas, so a race like that could come under consideration – provided he runs well this weekend.”
Others in a fascinating nine-strong field include Archie Watson’s unexposed colt The Perfect Crown, who scooted home by eight lengths at Chelmsford on his only start in November.
Richard Hannon has two contenders in Sun Power and Oh Purple Reign, while Saeed bin Suroor saddles Raaeb.
Tony Carroll’s Kondratiev Wave beat the Charlie Fellowes-trained Amarillo Star in a fast-track qualifier in January, and they do battle again.
Simon Dow’s Hector Loza, fourth in the Solario Stakes at Sandown, completes the line-up.