Balding stays patient with Alcohol Free

Andrew Balding is waiting for Alcohol Free to shed her winter coat so he can give his Cheveley Park Stakes heroine a prep run before the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

The Kingsclere trainer believes having a race before the fillies’ Classic on May 2 will help her relax on the big day.

The ideal race would be the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes, registered as the Fred Darling Stakes, over seven furlongs at Newbury on April 17.

“I’m delighted with her – the only problem is she’s still wearing her winter collection at the moment,” Balding told Sky Sports Racing.

“I’m just hoping the coat starts to shift – which it should do, with the weather we’ve got forecast over the next week.

“I’d hope to see a change in that, but she’s been showing all her usual ability in her work.

“She’s done two fast pieces of work, and I’m really pleased where we’re at in terms of her fitness levels and well-being – apart from the coat being a bit woolly.”

Balding accepts he may yet have to revert to Plan B, and head straight to Newmarket with Alcohol Free.

“The plan was to run in the Fred Darling as a prep for the Guineas,” he added.

“I think it’s important with her to hopefully have a run before going a mile – but if she’s not ready in time we’ll go straight to Newmarket.

“That has always been the plan, and she relaxes so well – certainly at home.

“It gives her a chance of getting a mile, but if we can get a race in as a prep to make sure she does settle that would be to her advantage.”

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