In-form jockey Mark Zahra is hoping the addition of the blinkers will give Shoals that something extra to enhance her chances in the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Shoals suffered her first defeat from five starts when second to Booker in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on October 1 and trainer Anthony Freedman has added the blinkers to her race day gear in an attempt to get the Fastnet Rock filly back into the winner’s stall.
Zahra was happy with the way Shoals reacted to wearing the blinkers in a gallop at Flemington on Tuesday morning and is confident that will have a positive effect on race day.
“She was sharp enough but relaxed enough,” Zahra said.
“It’s always a risk going up in trip and putting blinkers on but I reckon she just needed something extra if we think we’re a chance of winning, which we’ve done.
“She’ll wear the blinkers and I reckon she’ll run really well.”
Shoals will be meeting the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra trained Booker again in the Thousand Guineas and both fillies will be up against last start Flight Stakes winner Alizee.
The James Cummings trained Alizee has the advantage of already having won over the 1600m when she easily accounted for her opposition in the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes at Randwick on September 30 while Shoals will be stepping up to the mile for the first time in the Thousand Guineas.
“The mile is going to be the biggest test for Shoals,” Zahra said.
“She’s been impressive over 1200 metres and then she had her first run at 1400 the other day and I thought she was good through the line.
“Catchy levelled up with me and I kicked and beat her for second which I reckon was a really good sign.
“With only eight runners it’s going to make it a lot easier for her I reckon. She needs a soft run in transit to run the mile for sure.”
Shoals will jump from barrier four in the eight horse Thousand Guineas field and is on the second line of betting at $4.20 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind the favourite Alizee at $2.25 while Booker is the third pick at $7.