York preview: Coral Sprint Trophy (15.25)
The Mick Easterby trained mare won a competitive 20-runner contest on soft ground over course and distance in May 2014, coming with a steady run from off the pace to comfortably beat Baccarat by 1 1/4 lengths.
Aetna then ran well to be third at Newmarket, before being sent off the 5/1 favourite for this race 12 months ago and losing all chance when slowly away at the start and finishing just 10th of 19 to Spintarix.
The daughter of Indestachal then got back to winning ways in a Listed contest at Doncaster, showing a smart turn of foot to beat the useful Lancelot Du Lac by 2 3/4 lengths off a rating of 99.
Aetna has subsequently failed to trouble the judged in four starts this season, but did run well on the second of those over course and distance when ninth of 15 to Glass Office in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Stakes and beaten just 2 3/4 lengths.
The five-year-old finished close on the heels of some very useful sprinters in the shape of Mattmu and Muthmir and the race has thrown-up a whole host of subsequent winners.
Judged on that effort Aetna should be up to making her presence felt in this class 2 handicap off a mark of 104, and the fact that she comes into the race a fresh horse after such a light campaign is a big plus.
There are plenty of dangers in a typically wide open and fierce renewal, and last year’s runner-up Highland Acclaim looks a major player.
The David O’Meara trained gelding landed back-to-back contest at Newmarket and Ascot last August before going on to be beaten just 3/4 of a length in this contest by Spinatrix.
Highland Acclaim is now able to race off 3lb lower than 12 months ago, and that gives him every chance from a handicapping perspective.
The five-year-old is also a course and distance winner whose form figures at the track read 1202, and with Danny Tudhope in the saddle a big run looks on the cards.
Coral’s top tip: Aetna has conditions to suit and looks well worth an each-way wager. Highland Acclaim has a good record the track and is weighted to go well