First up specialist English is chasing her third straight win in the Group 2 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
English has won the last two running of the weight for age Challenge Stakes, both first up, and co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have the mare primed fpr another bold first up showing again on the weekend.
“English looks set to resume her campaign in terrific good order on Saturday over the 1000 metres,” Waterhouse wrote on her website.
“She has won this race previously on both occasions first up, she is on her home track and the run will have her spot on ahead of the Group 1 The Galaxy over 1100m at Rosehill on the 24th of March. Strong each-way chance.”
English was spelled after finishing ninth of nine in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley in October last year and has had two barrier trials in preparation for her return to the race track for her 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign, her latest was a second over 745m at Randwick with Saturday’s jockey Corey Brown in the saddle.
English has very good fresh form but her main obstacle in the Challenge Stakes will be the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Redzel who is the $1.55 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to regain the winner’s stall after suffering his first defeat from his last seven starts when a nose second to Redkirk Warrior in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 17. .
English is on the second line of betting at $5.50 ahead of the James Cummings trained Viridine at $7.
The Encosta De Lago mare has had mixed form since beating Redzel in the 2017 Challenge Stakes with her best efforts being a narrow second to Chautauqua in the 2017 Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on day one of The Championships and a second to In Her Time in the Group 2 $500,000 Santos Coffee Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on September 30.
Waterhouse is aiming English towards the Group 1 $700,000 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 24.