Abernant defence high on Keystroke agenda

Williams pleased to see Group Three feature on rescheduled programme.

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Keystroke is set to defend his crown in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.

The eight-year-old was a shock 66-1 winner of the Group Three heat last year for Stuart Williams, in a race that is usually run at the Guineas meeting in May.

Racing has been on hold since March due to the coronavirus crisis, with the British Horseracing Authority planning for a June 1 resumption, subject to Government approval, and the Abernant rescheduled for June 5 – a development which delighted Williams.

He said: “The plan is the Abernant. He’s very well in himself and I’ve been pleased with how he’s been working – like everyone, we’ve had no races to train him for.

“In the first draft of the programme the Abernant had been dropped, so I was pleased to see it was back in the second draft and that’s the plan.”

Williams is also weighing up the opportunities for Sceptre Stakes winner Breathtaking Look.

The five-year-old posted the best effort of her career when triumphing at 20-1 at Doncaster in September, but she subsequently disappointed when tried on the all-weather at Lingfield in October.

Williams said: “We decided not to put her in foal this year and to race her again.

“I don’t really have any targets in mind for her, but she’s very well in herself.

“The Lingfield race was very much a fact-finding mission for us as we wanted to know if we should be training her for the fillies’ and mares’ race on All-Weather Championships Finals Day.

“It just didn’t happen for her on the track though, so I don’t think we’d run her on the all-weather there again.”

Williams is hopeful of racing getting the go-head to resume next month and added: “It’s nice to have a June date to work towards.

“Obviously I would prefer if that was set in stone, but I know there’s been a lot of hard work going on in the background.

“I think you have to be a bit of an optimist to do this job, but the mood is pretty positive, I think, and we all just hope we can get back racing soon.”

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