Botti’s Al Thakhira warming up for date with Toronado

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Group Two winner Al Thakhira is set to contest £50,000 Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes (2.15pm, 19 entries) at Wolverhampton on Saturday, March 7, ahead of a date with exciting first-season sire Toronado.

The Marco Botti-trained four-year-old filly captured the Rockfel Stakes impressively at Newmarket in October, 2013, and, after finishing down the field in the French and Irish 1,000 Guineas last spring bounced back to win a seven-furlong Listed contest decisively at Ascot on October 4.

She was last seen out when fifth in the Group Two Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket on October 17.

Saturday’s seven-furlong contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Ladbrokes Mile at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 3.

“We are looking to run Al Thakhira at Wolverhampton on Saturday. The plan is to get her covered by Toronado afterwards and then race on in the spring,” said Botti.

“She is training well at moment. The Tapeta and track layout at Wolverhampton should be no problem and seven furlongs is probably her best trip. She looks fit and is ready to go.

“We will have to talk to the team but I would like to have a crack at Good Friday if she were to win at the weekend. Although it is not a black type race, it is very good prize money.

“The Golden Shaheen on the dirt is also an option on Dubai World Cup Night but Saturday will tell us more.”

The Newmarket handler is also planning to saddle Grey Mirage, who was just touched off by the Alan Bailey-trained Baddilini in a valuable seven-furlong handicap at Lingfield Park last month.

Botti added: “Seven furlongs is ideal for Grey Mirage, so he is likely to run as well.

“Ryan (Moore) rode him the other day and said he is one of those horses that can go up to a mile, but is more effective over seven.

“We ran him in the Ladbrokes Mile on Good Friday last year and, although he ran well to be fourth, it probably just stretched him.

“He seems back to his best after his good run last time. There is not a lot between them on ratings and he loves the All-Weather, so he should be in the mix.”