In his Racing Post stable tour this week, trainer Charlie Hills singled out two fillies that he felt could be live Classic prospects and both were from the first crop of Excellent Art.
Gray Pearl (3f Excellent Art-Divine Grace, by Definite Article) heads to the G1 1,000 Guineas on the back of racecourse gallop at Newmarket last week while Hazel Lavery (3f Excellent Art-Reprise, by Darshaan) is seen as a live G1 Oaks challenger.
Speaking about Gray Pearl, who finished third in last season’s G2 Rockfel Stakes, Hills said: “She’s a nice, big, scopey filly with a lovely long stride. She did well to finish third in the Rockfel on only her second start and we’ve always liked her. She’s going to run in the 1,000 Guineas and with that in mind we worked her at Newmarket last week, which will have hopefully put her right. She should improve this season and I am sure that she will run well in the Guineas.”
Gray Pearl was bred at the Pocock family’s Stringston Farm and is as sibling to the black-type performers Electric Beat and Blakey’s Boy.
Taling of Hazel Lavery, a 100,000gns yearling, Hills added: “She did well last year, winning at Newbury before finishing second in the big sales race at Newmarket over 7f. She’s done really well over the winter and worked with Gray Pearl at Newmarket last week. She’ll either start in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket or the Swettenham Stud Oaks Trial at Newbury, where she escapes a penalty. She’s out of a Darshaan mare, so should stay well, and the Oaks will be her target.”