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Fellowes eyeing Newbury date to test Eve Lodge’s Classic aspirations

Eve Lodge could start her three-year-old campaign in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes to assess her Classic prospects.

Trainer Charlie Fellowes is favouring the Group Three contest, registered as the Fred Darling Stakes, at Newbury next month over the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket. Both are over seven furlongs.

Should she come through her prep run well, then Fellowes might be tempted more by the French 1000 Guineas than the English equivalent at Newmarket.

“Eve Lodge is really well. She has had a good winter and a clear spring so far and the plan is to probably start her off in either the Nell Gywn or the Fred Darling, with a view to stretching out over a mile,” he said.

“She’s got a Guineas entry and she’s also entered in the French Guineas. My gut feeling is if she is good enough to run in a Guineas, the French Guineas might suit her better because you get more cut in the ground and a sharper track round a bend might suit her best.

“She looks great, she’s where we want her and ideally I’d like to run her in the Fred Darling.”

Eve Lodge has yet to run beyond six furlongs, having won the Group Three Sirenia Stakes over that distance at Kempton in September.

Fellowes has big plans for sprinter Vadream this year with the Group One Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot the prime objective after a prep run, possibly in the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.

The four-year-old filly took the Group Three Bengough Stakes over six furlongs at the Berkshire course in October before signing off the campaign with a creditable fifth place in the British Champions Sprint Stakes there later that month.

Vadream (left) is to be aimed at the top sprints this year
Vadream (left) is to be aimed at the top sprints this year (John Walton/PA)

“She is doing great. She had a really hard year last year so rather than cast our eye abroad, we decided to give her a proper holiday and freshen her up for this year,” said the Newmarket handler.

“Because she won the Bengough at the end of last year, she carries a Group Three penalty at the moment and there aren’t a multitude of options for her until either York for the Duke of York or possibly we might look at the Group Two Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh in the second half of May.

“If the ground came up soft at York I’d be happy to head up there, but if it was quick ground I’d be worried that six furlongs might be on the sharp side for her. We might look at going to Ireland where it might just suit her a bit better. She loves a bit of dig in the ground and it might be a nice starting place and then hopefully from there all the nice sprints after that.

“She could go over there and then to Royal Ascot for the Platinum Jubilee.”

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