TRAINER Michael Dods is hoping Mabs Cross can go one better than last year in her quest for success in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
The five-year-old mare went down to Alpha Delphini by a nose in the thrilling 2018 renewal of the Group 1 sprint on the Knavesmire.
Mabs Cross went on to land a deserved success at the highest level with victory in the Prix de l’Abbaye last autumn.
And she returned in 2019 with success in a Group 3 at Newmarket and was last seen in public when finishing fourth to Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Dods, based near Darlington, has since freshened up his stable star in readiness for a shot at the £400,000 five-furlong contest at York on Friday 23 August.
He said: “We are happy with Mabs Cross. She is in good form and we’re building the work up ready for having her A1 on the day.
“We just gave her a few easy weeks. The idea was to let her down a bit and then build her back up ready for York.
“The important thing to her is pace in the race. If she’s off the bridle at halfway you know she’ll come on at the end.
“I thought when she ran at Ascot she travelled too strongly throughout the race. But she’ll get a fast pace to aim at, at York.
“Last year, obviously we got pipped on the post but she ran a blinder. That set her up for France. So we’re aiming at going the same route.
“We’re happy where we’re at. We’re at a similar stage to where we were this time last year – we’re very pleased with her at the moment.”
Dods expects to bring a team of horses to the meeting over the four days.
The curtain-raising Sky Bet and Symphony Group Handicap could see him triple-handed with Dakota Gold, Jawwaal and Camacho Chief. The trio recently finished first, third and sixth respectively in the Sky Bet Dash at York.
Two more of Dods’ charges – Troubadour and Que Amoro – won at York last month. Both are pencilled in for return visits to the Knavesmire during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. The progressive Troubadour is ready to tackle the Sky Bet Nursery Handicap on Wednesday; while Que Amoro is being aimed at the closing race of the Festival, the Sky Bet Apprentice Stakes; both contests offer an eye catching £70,000 purse.
Dods confirmed: “We have a few that we intend to run there, all being well and if the ground conditions are what they want.
“We like to run at every York meeting but obviously at this fixture – and the horses seem to excel.
“There is never that many hard luck stories at York – it’s a great track, owners are well looked after, the facilities are fantastic for everybody, the horses, the staff.
“It’s just a fantastic racecourse, extremely well run and we like to have runners there.”
The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 21 August until Saturday 24 August inclusively.