April return for Battaash conqueror Mrs Danvers

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Mrs Danvers, too good for top sprinter Battaash in the 2016 Cornwallis Stakes but raced just once since then, is on her way back to hitting the track – much to the delight of her trainer Jonathan Portman.

Leased by the Turf Club 2016 syndicate from her breeders Connie and Mike Burton, Mrs Danvers won her first five races two years ago when her golden run took in Newbury’s Super Sprint, a Listed heat at the track and then the Cornwallis.

That day, the daughter of Hellvelyn powered away from Battaash, who has since gone on to establish himself as one of the world’s best sprinters, and Portman is hoping she can make up for lost time.

“Touch wood, she’s fine,” said the Lambourn-based trainer. “She’s cantering, she’s sound. So so far, so good. She’s only in light work at the moment, but that plan is to have her race fit for the end of April.

“We’ve got an idea where to start and a lot depends on how that goes. If she’s showing she’s a force to be reckoned with then we can be ambitious, if she’s showing she’s good, but not a superstar, we can adapt or if she’s showing she doesn’t want to do it any more or is not sound enough ot whatever, she’ll go off to the breeding sheds.”

Reflecting on 2017 when Mrs Danvers ran just once – she was sixth in the Group 3 Prix Sigy in May – Portman added: “Given we had a grey area last year, it all hinges on how she comes back into it all.

“It was nothing serious, but like a lot of hind-limb lamenesses they can be very hard to properly diagnose and we had theories rather than diagnoses, so we just thought given how difficult it is for three-year-olds we gave her the year out and she’s looking great.

“We’ll start lower down the ladder, in a Listed race, and see where we are with her.”