Azure Blue camp eyeing York return for comeback spin

Azure Blue has the defence of her 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes title pencilled in on the calendar as Michael Dods prepares his star speedster for her impending return to action.

The five-year-old appeared to be on a real upward curve in the sprint division around this time last year and followed up a Newmarket Listed win over Heredia on her reappearance by claiming the scalp of the ill-fated Highfield Princess in the York Group Two 12 months ago.

That Knavesmire victory signalled her intentions to compete at the highest level but although she got a first taste of Group One action when finishing sixth in last summer’s July Cup, niggling injuries kept her on the sidelines for the rest of the 2023 campaign.

She is now working towards a return to the track, with her trainer setting his sights on again tackling some of the season’s most prestigious sprinting events.

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However, the first port of call is a return to York on May 15, with Darlington-based Dods pleased with how her preparations are going.

“The plan is to go straight to York and we’re on track for that and we’re happy with her,” said Dods. “She’s working nicely and she looks great at the moment.

“The plan is to be in all of those top sprints this year and we’re happy with her, and she’s working nicely. We’re just making steady progress until we get her on the track.

“Hopefully that will be at York, that’s the plan.”

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