Stoute bids to open 2018 account with classy Smart Call in Snowdrop Stakes
Betfred Home Of Goals Galore Snowdrop Fillies Stakes | Listed | 1m | ITV4/RUK
Cricket lover Sir Michael Stoute is out to get off nought for the season in this feature mile contest in which he fields the classy former South African trainee Smart Call.
The Newmarket trainer has had some near misses at home and abroad in recent weeks, most recently when Poet's Word finished second in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan last Saturday.
Smart Call has just as many air miles to her name as her stablemate after competing in France, Ireland and Hong Kong last season, signing off with a close-up seventh behind Highland Reel in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December.
That outing was over a mile and a half and the six-year-old's previous best effort for Stoute was her fourth in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet over a mile and a quarter at Deauville.
Although she has never run on the all-weather, Smart Call has plenty of experience of it at home and has been pleasing Stoute on her work on the Al Bahathri Polytrack.
The trainer said: "Smart Call has wintered well and this looks a good starting point for her for the season. She's been pleasing us at home but it looks a tricky little race with a race-fit French runner in there."
That rival, Hunaina, is rated 9lb inferior to Smart Call on BHA figures, but should be in trim condition after lowering the colours of the smart Trais Fluors in a conditions contest at Chantilly last month.
Before that, the daughter of Tamayuz had finished third in a Listed contest on the Polytrack at Deauville in January.
Prior to that, La Figlia had run a promising second on her debut over six furlongs at Kempton when she shaped as if this trip was more her bag.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda said: "La Figlia is in good order and I'm happy with the way she's been training. As with any filly the weather and cold conditions this spring haven't been ideal.
"She hasn't come in her coat yet and will improve for the run. But overall I'm pleased with her and expect her to put up a positive performance."
Noseda's neighbour Roger Varian has never won the Snowdrop Stakes but is hopeful the progressive Shenanigans can take another step up the ladder after two wins and a near miss in decent handicap company last autumn.
He said: "Shenanigans improved pleasingly throughout last year and has done well over the winter, strengthening up again. With her rating she deserves a tilt at Listed level and we know she handles the all-weather fine.
"She's been training well and should be competitive from a good draw, even if this does look a stronger renewal of the Snowdrop than can be the case."
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