Co-trainer Tom Dabernig is hopeful that the addition of a barrier blanket will help Rising Romance’s susceptible barrier manners when she lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Dabernig said that Rising Romance has a tendency to be slow out of the gates and the Lindsay Park team had been thinking of putting her in a barrier blanket for some time, but Dabernig said that the stable weren’t keen to add another barrier trial to Rising Romance’s busy Spring campaign..
A barrier blanket is in the shape of a horse rug and is placed on the horse behind the barriers before it takes it position in the starting gates to give it a sense of security and comfort.
The blanket is then clipped to the starting stalls and when the gates open the horse jumps clear of the blanket which is left attached to the stalls and this usually helps it jump cleanly with the rest of the field.
If a horse is to wear a barrier blanket on race day, it must use it in a barrier trial before the stewards will allow it to be used on race day.
“She’s always been a little bit fractious in the gates,” Dabernig told AAP.
“But we didn’t put her in one last preparation because we didn’t want to trial her mid-preparation.”
The Lindsay Park Team of Dabernig and David Hayes took over the training of Rising Romance from New Zealand trainer Donna Logan for her Spring campaign which produced two Group 1 seconds from six starts.
While under the care of Logan, Rising Romance was able to win the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival and ran second to Japanese galloper Admire Rakti in the Group 1 $3m Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield during the Spring the same year.
Hayes and Dabernig weren’t able to win with Rising Romance but the mare did run second to Fawkner in the Group 1 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and second to Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) both at Flemington.
Rising Romance will be having her first start in the C.F. Orr Stakes since running seventh of seven in the Group 2 $300,000 Quayclean Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on November 14.
Damian Lane has ridden the Ekraar mare at her last five starts and gets the mount again, albeit by default, after Craig Williams, who was booked to ride her, was forced to miss the meeting after being suspended for careless riding at Caulfield last Saturday.
A full field of eighteen has been declared for the weight for age C.F. Orr Stakes with Rising Romance drawing out wide at barrier sixteen.