SMART Call, the 2016 Met winner, is set to make her re-appearance on the racetrack in the Gr2 Betfred Middleton Stakes over 2050m at York Racecourse on Thursday.
Jessica Slack’s wonderful five-year-old mare had her initial Breeders’Cup campaign interrupted when she suffered a muscle injury near hind last October and trainer Alec Laird didn’t want to rush her, opting instead for a rest and recovery.
Smart Call was transferred to Sir Michael Stoute’s Newmarket stable early this year and Steven Jell, representing Slack this week, commented: “Sir Michael is a nice, down to earth man. He is happy with the progress Smart Call has made. It’s a small, strong field and the objective is to get her through this race, to see how she goes. She looks good.”
Trainer John Gosden’s lightly raced four-year-old So Mi Dar, who races for Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber, tops the boards at 1-1, with Stoute’s other runner Queen’s Trust at 9-4. She won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf for Frankie Dettori, who hops on the Gosden favourite and is replaced by Ryan Moore. Stoute has booked Jim Crowley for Smart Call, who is generally on offer at 12-1.
The Middleton Stakes is off at 15:55, SA time.
Photo: Smart Call with work rider at Newmarket today. (Steven Jell).