In-form sprinter Ability will continue his rise up through the ranks when he takes on Group 3 company for the first time in the $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Ability is the winner of his last three starts and trainer Robert Smerdon said that the Reward For Effort gelding deserves his chance to prove himself in tougher company.
“The horse is in form. It’s time to have a look and see whether he can measure up to this level,” Smerdon told the Herald Sun.
“Every run this time in he’s raised the bar going from a Benchmark 78 to an open handicap to a Listed race and now to a Group 3.”
“Group 3s at this time if the year are a little bit different to what they are in October and November.”
“Can Ability measure up to Group 3 level? All I can say he deserves his chance.”
Ability kicked off his hat trick of wins by taking out a 1000m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Moonee Valley on June 3 with Craig Williams in the saddle and the premiership leading jockey was aboard again for his win in a 1100m Open Handicap at Flemington on June 24.
Dwayne Dunn then took over the reins from the suspended Williams for a win in the Listed $150,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington again on July 8 but Williams will be back in the saddle again in the Bletchingly Stakes.
Smerdon had originally planned to give Ability a break after his second Flemington win but decided to keep the four year old going while he was racing in such good form.
“The original plan was to give him a break but he’s in such good form now it’s time to roll the dice. We’ve just taken it run by run this time in,” Smerdon said.
Ability is one of eighteen sprinters nominated for the Bletchingly Stakes and will be facing some stiff opposition with multiple Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee and Group 1 placed Supido, Lord Of The Sky and Keen Array also among the entries.
Five times Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee is resuming from an injury enforced spell and hasn’t raced since finishing fourth to Malaguerra in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The Mike Kent trained Supido was quick to regain his winning form with a first up victory in the Group 3 $150,000 PFD Food Services Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 15 with second and third placegetters Daytona Grey and Murt The Flirt as well sixth placed Lord Of The Sky all nominated for the Bletchingly Stakes.