Talented filly Alpha Miss is on track to return to the races in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 after she recorded a strong barrier trial victory at Rosehill Gardens this morning.
Alpha Miss contested the opening barrier trial of the morning over 1030 metres and she was settled in second position in the early stages of the trial, while David Payne-trained Rock Hero pulled several lengths clear of the rest of the field.
The classy three-year-old is currently available at a quote of $41 in the 2014 Thousand Guineas betting market with Ladbrokes Australia and will be one of the leading contenders in the Silver Shadow Stakes in less than three weeks.
Rock Hero started to tire in the final stages of the trial and Alpha Miss worked home strongly to win the barrier trial by almost a length, while Honorius, Any Day Will Do, Sacred Falls and Who Shot Thebarman also made up ground late.
Trainer Gary Nickson revealed last month that the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 would be the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Alpha Miss and he said after the trial that the daughter of Lucky Owners was on track to return to the races in the Silver Shadow Stakes.
Alpha Miss has not been seen at the races since she finished a disappointing 14th in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5, but she showed that she was capable of competing at Group level with impressive performances in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) and Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m).
Rock Hero was having his second barrier trial start this preparation after finishing third behind Thump in a barrier trial over 900 metres at Rosehill Gardens on July 21 and will be nearing a return to the races.
The Fastnet Rock entire stamped himself as a horse to watch with a win in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 last year and started his autumn preparation with a second place finish in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8, but was sent to the spelling paddock after finishing tenth behind Shamus Award in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
2014 Australian Derby winner Criterion was originally down to contest the 1030 metre trial, but he instead took place in an exhibition gallop between races at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday; impressing onlookers with an outstanding piece of work alongside stablemate Bold Circle.