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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Mrs Danvers makes eagerly awaited return from injury

Mrs Danvers: unbeaten at two but on a recovery mission after one defeat at three
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5.45 Bath
Whitsbury Manor Stud/British EBF Lansdown Stakes | 5f | 3yo+ fillies and mares

Speed is the name of the game on Bath’s all-sprint card and they don’t come much faster than an on-song Mrs Danvers, who swept all before her in five wins at two, culminating in a Group 3 success at Newmarket.

Things, however, did not go according to plan last season as a hard-to-diagnose injury restricted her to one run just over a year ago, when she relinquished her unbeaten record at Chantilly.

The road back to full health and a return to the track has been frustratingly long for trainer Jonathan Portman and his team, but with the yard out of the blocks quickly this spring and among the winners, there appears no better time to launch her four-year-old career.

“She’s a year older and a year wiser and is less of an easy book to read than she was as a two-year-old,” said Portman. “I suspect she’s always going to keep a little bit up her sleeve for herself, but she’s sound and seems to be over the problem that stopped her last year.”

Revealing more on her injury woe, Portman added: “It was hind-limb lameness which was not 100 per cent diagnosed. She looks a stronger filly than when she was as a two-year-old and she’s happy, but she only does enough at home and she has to tell us on a racecourse.    

“You’ve got to start at a reasonable level and she'll tell us on raceday how she’s feeling about the rest of the season. Because of her problems last year we’ve not trained her aggressively and she’s sure to come on for the run.”

Mabs Cross chases five-timer

While Mrs Danvers was sidelined Mabs Cross was making hay last season, winning four on the bounce at the minimum trip, including a Listed success at Musselburgh on her last start, for which she shoulders a 3lb penalty here.

“They’re finally getting a bit of sunshine but they’ve lacked that really,” said County Durham trainer Michael Dods. “She’s well and we’ve got to start somewhere but it’s her first run back and her best form has been on nice, galloping tracks, unlike Bath.

"That’s where the race is though and I’m hoping she’ll build on whatever she does and we’ll go from there.”

Mabs Cross: may not be suited by track says trainer Michael Dods

Best yet to come from Marie Of Lyon

Another with Listed form already in the book is Marie Of Lyon, who was a 40-1 second in the Boadicea Stakes on her last start at three.

“She’s wintered well and we might not have seen the best of her yet,” said her trainer Richard Fahey. “The owners are keen to get more black type with her but she could be one for the Wokingham later on.”

Dean Ivory had hoped to start Yolo Star in handicap company but, having finished fourth in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes on her final run for Johnny Murtagh, the handicapper had other ideas.

Ivory explained: “I did enter her in two races but the handicapper has put her up to 98 [from 85], so I’ve no choice but to go for the Listed race.

"I like her and she’s probably worthy of her handicap mark, but I just hope I know enough about her to have a crack at this race.”

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Because of her problems last year we’ve not trained her aggressively and she’s sure to come on for the run
E.W. Terms
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