Trainer Robert Smerdon admits that he is throwing Anatina in the deep end in the 2014 The Galaxy, but the veteran trainer is confident that she has the talent to be competitive in the Group 1 event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Anatina performed strongly during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, winning the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1000m) and Magic Millions Ballarat Three-Year-Old Classic (1100m), and returned to the races with an impressive win over Gregers in the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on March 8.
Smerdon said that Anatina is not advantaged by the quality handicap conditions of The Galaxy, but believes that the Fastnet Rock filly will appreciate the 1100 metre trip at Rosehill Gardens and has the ability to perform well in her Group 1 debut.
“At the weights, given it is a quality handicap, we are not well served,” Smerdon said.
“To me her distance range is 1000 to 1100 and it is a manner of finding an opportunity for her at a higher level.
“It is going into the deep-end.
“There is a 1200 metre race coming up, but she showed here in the spring that she struggles beyond 1100.
“It is a matter of finding her a Group opportunity in that distance range and, whilst it is deep-ending her, a top four finish would be good for her CV.
“She has a lot of ability and she is lightly-raced, so we don’t know where she ends up.
“Maybe she is well-placed here instead of out of her depth, but she is disadvantaged at the weights.”
The Rosehill Gardens track is currently rated a heavy eight and the track conditions are set to play a key role in The Galaxy; with current favourite Snitzerland expected to scratched from the Group 1 event if the track does not improve, while Joseph Pride is hoping for a wet track for his three chances.
Anatina has previously performed well on a heavy track, taking out the Magic Millions Ballarat Classic on a heavy eight, but Smerdon said that he would prefer to see The Galaxy held on a firm track.
“That day at Ballarat I didn’t know what she would be like on the ground,” Smerdon said.
“She got through it really well, but being a restricted race she was racing inferior quality horses.
“I would prefer to see the track on the better side than wet, but she has performed on soft.”
Snitzerland ($4.40) remains a narrow favourite in 2014 The Galaxy betting markets; with Anatina currently available at the lucrative odds of $21.