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Simon Mapletoft on the AWC: Stable Tours – Marco Botti

The Italian is planning another assault on the top races with All-Weather stars Grey Mirage, Solar deity and Grendisar.

Newmarket trainer Marco Botti is hoping to emulate last season’s achievements with the magnificent Grendisar, whose achievements in winning three Listed races put him among the most illustrious of All-Weather performers. The versatile five-year-old claimed his first black type victory in the mile and a half Floodlit Stakes at Kempton before taking the Listed Quebec Stakes and the Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield. What’s more, he was good enough to finish third to Tryster in the Coral Easter Classic.

“He’s been a fantastic horse,” says Botti. “He needs to be ridden a certain way as he likes to be held up for a run and mustn’t get to the front too soon. I was a little disappointed with his fifth in a valuable All-Weather race in Turkey in September but he might have just needed that after his summer break. He’s also ran below his best at Chelmsford since but had to come wide in a race that wasn’t run to suit him. The best races are tough to win but he’s as good as ever and will be trying his best to win them again.”

Grey Mirage has also been a standing dish on the All-Weather and, despite approaching his seventh birthday, looks well ahead of his return to action. “He hasn’t run on turf at all this year so I’m hoping he will benefit from a long summer break,” adds the Italian. “He’s best over seven furlongs but showed on Good Friday that he can beat the top (All-Weather) horses over a mile.”

The Oasis Dream gelding was produced with a well-timed run to repel the fast-finishing Sovereign Debt in last season’s Mile Final – just reward for two consistent campaigns that yielded notable wins at Lingfield and Kempton. The Listed Hyde Stakes, a Fast Track Qualifier over a mile at the London track in November, could be the starting point for Grey Mirage.

Botti will also bring back stable stalwart Solar Deity, who was no match for Tryster and company in a Chelmsford conditions race in September but will feature in the more notable nine and 10-furlong races. “He’s lost some of his early speed so a mile and a quarter suits him well now,” says Botti. “He’s rated over 100 which will make it tougher for him in handicaps but he showed last year, despite not winning, that he retains plenty of ability.”

Lacan, who has been given a short break following a limited campaign on turf, will also be campaigned on sand. He showed his potential by winning over a mile at Kempton last December and again over that trip at Chelmsford in May. Beginning off a rating of 93, he should prove competitive in the best races with a place in the Good Friday Mile Final the main objective.

Sprinter Naadirr, who was fifth in the Champions Sprint at Ascot on his first try at Group One level, could run in Listed races on Polytrack in preparation for a possible trip to Dubai. He won his only previous All-Weather start at Kempton as a two-year-old. That track plays to the strengths of Crazy Chic, who Botti believes is at his best over seven furlongs and has the scope to progress into marks in the 90s.