LONDON// Planteur embarks on the road to better last season's third-place finish in the Dubai World Cup when he lines up as the overwhelming favourite in the Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield.
Marco Botti's six-year-old stallion found only the Godolphin pair of Monterosso and Capponi too good in the world's most valuable race at Meydan Racecourse 11 months ago.
Planteur did not have a prep race before coming to Dubai last season and has not run since finishing seventh to Frankel in the Juddmonte International in September.
Botti believes that today's 10-furlong event at the British track will have his charge spot on for a repeat bid in the $US10 million (Dh36.7m) contest in five weeks.
"Fitness-wise he was only 95 per cent last season and was a bit fresh for the World Cup," Botti said. "He is well clear on ratings tomorrow so he should win and then it is on to Dubai."
In Australia, Ortensia makes her first start down under since finishing tailed off in the Haydock Sprint Cup in September.
The eight year old will be partnered by Craig Williams, who rode the mare to victory in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March, in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.
Ortensia struck twice in England last summer with her success in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes confirming the impression she made in Dubai in March.
Paul Messara, the trainer, suggested this week that Ortensia will not travel to Dubai to defend her crown. A clash with Black Caviar is thought to be the preferred option but he left the door open yesterday when speaking to a Melbourne radio station.
“There has been no firm decision made yet,” Messara told RSN Sport. “We have options in Melbourne or Sydney, or Dubai for that matter, but following tomorrow’s race we will all sit down and work out which way we are going to go.”
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