Trainer Mick Kent is hoping for a win for Abbey Marie in the Group 3 $150,000 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday to gain a free ticket in the 2017 Caulfield Cup.
Abbey Marie is lightly weighted with 51.5kg and is in fortieth position in the order of entry for the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21 but a win in the exempt free Naturalism Stakes would see her secure a spot in the Spring Carnival’s feature staying race.
The five year old mare went close to securing a Caulfield Cup spot when second to Bonneval in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 9 and Kent admits that she will need plenty of luck at Caulfield on Saturday to win the Naturalism Stakes.
“I’m happy with the horse. She’s trained on but we’ll need some luck at Caulfield,” Kent said.
“The trip is what she’s looking for but at Caulfield you need quite a bit of luck, especially with a horse like her that gets back and runs on.
“If she had have won the Dato I would have taken a different path as she would be in the Caulfield Cup, but with 51.5 kilos she might need an exemption to get into the race.
“But she’s going the right way this time around I think.”
The Naturalism Stakes has attracted twenty-five nominations but the final field will be restricted to sixteen with Abbey Marie at number ten in the order of entry and guaranteed a start in the Caulfield Cup qualifier.
The lightly raced Abbey Marie has proven herself at Group 1 level with a win as a three year old at only her third race start in the Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes Oaks (registered as Australasian Oaks) (2000m) at Morphettville during the 2016 Adelaide Autumn Carnival.
In early betting for the Naturalism Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au Abbey Marie is marked at $6 alongside of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Stampede behind the $4.60 favourite Star Exhibit while in Caulfield Cup markets the Redoute’s Choice mare is rated as a $34 chance.
Early betting for the Naturalism Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Star Exhibit, $6 Abbey Marie, Stampede, $6.50 Amelie’s Star, $9 Big Duke, Samovare, $10 Harlem, $11 Guardini, Tally, $13 Articus, $15 Foundation, Foundry, $17 Harlow Gold, $21 Boom Time, Gallante, Sir Isaac Newton, $26 Eureka Street, Magnapal, Second Bullet, Spanish Reef, $34 Amralah, Vengeur Masque, $51 Berisha, $67 Settler’s Stone, Fanatic.