Azure Blue team turn thoughts to next term

Michael Dods will be targeting major prizes with Azure Blue next season, having seen the campaign of his improving sprinter come to a premature end.

The four-year-old – who found the scoresheet four times in 2022 – made a blistering start to the season, winning a Listed event at Newmarket before claiming the scalp of Highfield Princess in the 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes at York.

She was subsequently saved for Newmarket’s July Cup where she finished sixth but has not been since, having suffered a foot injury which has kept her on the sidelines and ruled her out of tilts at both the Nunthorpe and Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup.

Sights were turned to Qipco British Champions Day, but having lost the battle to fully prime the daughter of El Kabeir for Ascot action, Dods is now relishing the prospect of Azure Blue returning in 2024.

He said: “She’s fine, we just ran out of time to get her back for British Champions Day so we’ll leave her now and she will back.

“We’re looking forward to next season now.”

When asked if she will be campaigned as a Group One sprinter next season, Dods added: “That will be the plan, I would say so definitely.”

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