French import Marly makes her UK debut in the chelmsfordcityracecourse.com Fillies' Conditions Stakes (6.30pm, seven runners) tonight.
The seven-furlong Polytrack contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies & Mares Championship over the same distance at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.
Formerly trained by Andrea Marcialis, Marly is now based with Newmarket handler John Ryan. The four-year-old has won three of her nine starts, including on the All-Weather at Chantilly, and was last seen out when fourth in a seven-furlong Listed race at Fontainebleau in November.
Ryan has secured the services of Jamie Spencer and to date the pair have combined for two winners and a second from three All-Weather runners.
The trainer said: “This is obviously Marly’s first start for us and, with a filly such as her, we have to plan our races a little bit more.
“Her winning form in France was predominantly over six furlongs, although she did win over an extended six at Chantilly, and the majority of her better form has probably been on the turf.
“Her work has been good since she arrived from the sales. We have gone steady away from there and I think she is ready for her first run. Jamie was pleased with the piece of work she did at the weekend.
“This is our first step forward and will be a bit of a learning curve, but we think she is an exciting prospect and can hopefully run a nice race.”
Marly’s official BHA rating of 97 is matched by Shimmering Dawn (James Tate/Tom Eaves), who was an impressive winner of a six-furlong handicap at Chelmsford City in September.
Shimmering Dawn beat Queen’s Course (David O’Meara/Kieran Shoemark) a neck in a seven-furlong conditions race at Lingfield Park in December, although was no match for Amniarix in a Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton on January 4.
Former Godolphin runner Declaring Love (John Butler/Adam Kirby) turns out quickly after making an eye-catching debut for new connections in a novice race at Wolverhampton on February 10, when she powered clear to win by five and a half lengths.
Quickstep Lady (Andrew Balding/David Probert) makes her debut on the All-Weather following a 147-day break. An impressive winner over this distance at Goodwood, she has been off the track since going down narrowly in a valuable six-furlong fillies’ handicap at Newmarket in September.
Amber Island (David Loughnane/Rossa Ryan), a handicap winner at Wolverhampton in December, and likely outsider Ikigai (Ilka Gansera-Leveque/Luke Morris) also run.