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Image: Ross Holburt
Stablemates Vespertine and Butter Chicken will clash in the Leilani Series at Flemington.

Entering last spring, Grahame Begg held high expectations for lightly raced mare Butter Chicken.

The four-year-old had only three starts under the belt the previous autumn and following a maiden win at Pakenham went on to finish second in Group 2 company before a spell.

After a sound first-up effort, Butter Chicken was expected to give the Group 2 Stocks Stakes at The Valley a shake, but the mare did not feature.

One more start followed, and Butter Chicken beat only one home in the Group 3 Ladies Day Vase at Caulfield before Begg pulled-up stumps.

Butter Chicken is back, this time in the Leilani Series (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday, a benchmark 78 race that is far easier than what she had previously been contesting.

“We ran her at The Valley and she jarred up and we thought we had her right, but she wasn’t, so we had to give her a good break,” Begg said.

“She’s had a couple of jump-outs and has performed well, but you don’t really know until you put them down on race day to find out where they are at.”

Begg said Butter Chicken would be ridden conservatively on Saturday while he also stressed Saturday’s race could determine her immediate future.

Joining Butter Chicken on Saturday will be Vespertine with Begg hoping the forecast rain stays away.

Begg would also have preferred a barrier swap for his two runners with Vespertine drawn out in 12.

“We felt last time she got exposed too much,” Begg said.

“Nothing crossed her and she saw too much daylight, but she ran fifth and the horses that finished around her all ran well last weekend.

“We feel she’s better when she can get cover, but she’s drawn barrier 12 so she might have to go back and try and ride for luck.

“It’s not ideal.”

 
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