Grendisar makes Churchill return as he sets out on Easter Classic defence
Trainer Marco Botti is looking forward to starting Grendisar's all-weather campaign in the Betway Churchill Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday. The six-year-old was runner-up in this Listed contest 12 months ago and went on to win his last three starts all over the course and distance, culminating in the Coral Easter Classic in March.
"I am very pleased with Grendisar. He is working well and ready to go on Saturday," said Botti. "We had originally planned to bring him back in the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk (in September) but I just thought he wasn't quite ready and the extra few weeks have helped him - he looks really well.
"From what we can see at home, he seems as good as last year and is in top form. We have kept him fresh and will only campaign him on the all-weather. He will be following the same route as last year with the Winter Derby and Good Friday his main targets. He could also take in the Winter Derby Trial again," Botti added.
While Grendisar has been absent for 232 days, Restorer had his latest outing just 10 days ago when he was third to Western Hymn in a Listed contest at Kempton. His trainer William Muir has his fingers crossed the four-year-old will show no ill-effects after that first effort following a six-month break.
"Restorer came out of Kempton very well and the only thing I am conscious of is the dreaded bounce factor," said Muir. "It is only 10 days since that run and he was coming back from a break, but he doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects from it.
"We haven't been given a very favourable draw in stall 11, but I do think that a mile and a quarter is his trip. He ran a wonderful race last time - I was thinking that it was all over when he went clear with two furlongs to go. He might have got slightly tired or the trip might have stretched him. It's a strong contest but the distance looks ideal and we feel that we have as good a chance as a lot of the other runners," added Muir.
Metropol, a close third to Grendisar on Good Friday, renews rivalry for French trainer Pia Brandt. Others in a decent contest include Energia Davos and Educate, who were first and second in a Listed race at Newmarket last month, William Haggas's Yorker and Saeed bin Suroor's lightly-raced Team Talk.
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Source: At The Races