Fanshawe eyeing Lancashire Oaks option for Viola

A return to Haydock for the Lancashire Oaks could be on the cards for Viola following her fine effort to finish second in the Pinnacle Stakes on Merseyside.

James Fanshawe’s filly was perhaps an unlucky loser in the Group Three event having been short of room in the closing stages as the daughter of Lope De Vega finished placed behind winner Sea La Rosa for the third time since conquering William Haggas’ charge in a Doncaster handicap last summer.

Connections of the consistent five-year-old, who outran odds of 16-1 on Saturday, are now hopeful Viola will continue to hold her own in Pattern company throughout the season.

“She ran a fantastic race in the Pinnacle, we were really pleased with her,” said Fanshawe

“Although she may have looked a little unlucky, you’ve got to switch her off and she got a lovely run round the inside and she ran a really good race.

“I think she really enjoys that style of racing – relaxing and being produced late. She’s not the biggest, but she’s tough and we were delighted with her run.

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Sun Chariot Day – Newmarket Racecourse
Trainer James Fanshawe was delighted with the performance of Viola at Haydock (Tim Goode/PA)

“With regard to the future, the obvious race for her is the Lancashire Oaks, but we will be taking the three-year-olds on there, so we will have a look at all options.”

Fanshawe also provided an update on Ascot specialist Fresh, who has a return to the Berkshire track on his agenda in the Wokingham Stakes at the Royal meeting.

The five-year-old was beaten a neck in that competitive handicap by Rohaan 12 months ago and heads back to Ascot off only a 2lb higher rating following a respectable effort to finish fourth in the Victoria Cup last time.

“Fresh is in good form and praying for rain. He loves Ascot,” continued Fanshawe.

“I just felt the ground last time was maybe a bit too quick. I’m not sure if he perhaps broke a bit too well and Danny (Tudhope, jockey) thought he was a bit too close to the pace.

“The pace of six-furlong races gives him the chance to switch off and we just hope he gets some soft ground there which will bring all his strengths into play.”

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