Trainer Robert Smerdon has put the blinkers on Thurlow for Saturday’s Group 3 $150,000 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Sandown to try to secure a start for the smart filly in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
Smerdon said that he would like to see Thurlow win on Saturday if she was going to be a chance of winning the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28 and believes the addition of the blinkers will help her cause.
“She would probably have to beat them if she’s going to win a Blue Diamond,” Smerdon told Racing Network.
Thurlow has raced twice for a win and a second while wearing a set of winkers but the Caulfield trainer decided to switch to blinkers after the Sebring filly had become distracted her trackwork.
She was beaten less than half a length on debut when second to Antelucan in the Group 3 $150,000 Emirates Airline Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 4 before scoring a narrow win in the Listed $120,000 Santa’s Magical Kingdom Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on November 15.
“She needs a companion to do a genuine piece of work; we thought the blinkers might just help her concentrate a bit more,” Smerdon said.
“I got a really good report from Craig Williams. He said she was a lot sharper than she was in her trial.
Craig Williams has ridden Thurlow at her two starts to date and will be in the saddle again with the filly to jump from barrier two in the nine horse field.
Thurlow is a drifting second favourite at $4 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind Danny O’Brien’s speedy Prompt Return who leads the market order at $3.10.
Smerdon is happy with the condition of Thurlow as she shapes up for her Autumn Carnival return but has a healthy respect for O’Brien’s colt who has two wins and a second beside his name.
“She is forward enough, but I don’t know how she will measure up against O’Brien’s horse but she looks to be back to where she was in the Spring,” Smerdon said.
O’Brien took Prompt Return to Bendigo for his race debut where he collected the prize with a win in a 900m two year old maiden on October 18 before coming to town to score a two lengths victory in the Group 3 $150,000 racing.com Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 8.
But the Beneteau colt couldn’t match it with the Gai Waterhouse trained Carriages who led all of the way to win the $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic (1000m) at Ballarat on November 22 leaving Prompt Return chasing in second spot.
Also prominent in the betting is the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained Haybah ($4,40) who is coming off a close second to Blue Diamond Stakes top fancy Fontiton in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preview (F) (1000m) at Sandown on January 26.