Co trainers Pat and Wayne Webster aren’t frightened to take on the big guns with their filly Bethlehem in the Group 3 $125,000 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The Websters decided it was time to test their filly against the best even though she could only manage a fourth in the Vinery Stud 2yo Fillies Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on February 22.
“She’s a bit of an unknown to be honest,” Wayne Webster said.
“Her first-up run was encouraging. Brad Pengelly rode her and he was impressed by the way she hit the line.
“He actually said to me that if she’d drawn a gate or if it had been 1200 metres she probably would have won.”
The More Than Ready filly made up plenty of ground to be beaten less than a length by the Gai Waterhouse trained Valerio and the extra distance of the Sweet Embrace will suit her.
Jockey Christian Reith will take over from Pengelly and Webster thinks Bethlehem has shown enough improvement to be competitive in better company.
“She is still a preparation away, mentally and physically, but she is sound and well and we’re looking forward to stepping her up to the extra distance,” he said.
“She’s shown us enough to be there on Saturday.
“If you’re ever going to throw them in the deep end you do it when they’re two. Anything can happen.”
Bethlehem is currently at $31 with Waterhouse’s other filly Kuchinskaya at the top of the betting at $3.50 just ahead of the Chris Waller trained Jade Marauder at $4.40.
Kuchinskaya was an impressive winner at her third race start scoring by almost three lengths in the thessydneycarnival.com.au 2yo Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill on February 11.
Nash Rawiller has retained the ride on the Red Dazzler filly after leading all of the way at Rosehill and should get a similar run from a good barrier draw.
Jade Marauder wasn’t disgraced last time out when she hit the line hard to go under by less than a length to Cavalry Rose in the Styletread.com.au 2yo Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill on February 11.
The Fastnet Rock filly to be ridden again by Hugh Bowman has shown her consistency with a win and two placings from three starts and a victory on Saturday will give her a place in the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7.