Saturday 25 November 2017

Maarek ready for Duke of York shot, says Evanna McCutcheon

Maarek, here winning at Longchamp last year, will carry top weight at York today. (Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Maarek, here winning at Longchamp last year, will carry top weight at York today. (Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Maarek may have to concede weight all round in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes but should relish the soft ground.

Following his Group One triumph in last year's Prix de l'Abbaye for trainer Barry Lalor, the seven-year-old joined Evanna McCutcheon at the start of the new season and, although he has twice been beaten since, the handler feels her stable star is approaching peak fitness.

McCutcheon said: "He travelled over on Monday and had a jog out on the track. He's in good condition and we're looking forward to it.

"They've had a lot of rain and the ground is going to be very soft but, as long as it doesn't get too deep and holding, we'll be happy.

"He's a lazy horse and a year older now, so he takes plenty of getting fit. He's had his two runs and, hopefully, he's nearly spot on now, fingers crossed. I'd be very hopeful he'll run a big race."

Three-year-olds are always reckoned to be at a disadvantage against their elders, but Middle Park winner Astaire is returning to the course, distance and ground on which he won the Gimcrack last year and will be hard to beat.

Irish Independent

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