Twilight Royale will deliver connections a $2.4 million bonus if she is successful in the 2014 Inglis Guineas, but trainer Bjorn Baker admits that that the filly will need to improve significantly to be a winning chance at Scone on Saturday.
Twilight Royale made herself eligible for the Inglis Triple Crown Bonus after taking out both the Inglis Nursery Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm and Group 2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old, but has been unable to return to that form during her three-year-old season.
The Testa Rossa filly had just two race starts during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing fourth in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on August 24 and the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on September 7, and has failed to fire since beginning her autumn campaign.
Twilight Royale made up little ground late when returning to the races in the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and beat home just a single runner when 13th in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) – form that Baker believes is nowhere near the best that the filly is capable of.
Baker told Racing Ahead that he would love nothing more than to pick up the $2.4 million bonus on offer this weekend, but is of the belief that Twilight Royale would have to recapture her two-year-old form to be any chance in the Inglis Guineas this weekend.
“It is fair to say that her last couple of runs have been very much below par,” Baker said.
“She is going to have to improve big time.
“The one possible turnaround is the blinkers, they go on, and she has done a bit of work at Scone with Rod Northam so she has had a good look at the track.
“Hopefully a better surface will help her as well, but it is fair to say that she is up against it and we are going to have to try and play all our cards.
“She does have ability on the day, that was shown in her two-year-old form, and it is just a matter of trying to get back there.
“We are in with a chance and you have to be in to win.”
Twilight Royale will face a strong field in the 2014 Inglis Guineas; with the Gai Waterhouse-trained trio of Cosmic Endeavour, Woodbine and Ryker, Hawkesbury Guineas winner Chautauqua and Adelaide Guineas winner Alpha Beat set to contest the $400,000 race.