Trainer Russell Cameron is confident that Lady Of Harrods can return to her best form and win the Carpet Call Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Lady Of Harrods was one of the most consistent fillies during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival, winning the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) and the Group 3 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) before finishing an unlucky eighth in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m), but has failed to fire this preparation.
The Dubawi mare started her 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a tenth place finish behind Liesele in the Listed Alinghi Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 19 before finishing a disappointing tenth behind Dystopia in the Group 3 Mumm Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day.
Cameron made a number of gear changes to Lady Of Harrods for the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1400m), adding a standard bit and tongue tie for the first time, and they appeared to make a slight difference; with the four-year-old hanging on bravely to finish fifth behind Mahisara after setting a quick tempo in the early stages of the race.
The Flemington-based trainer admits that he has been disappointed with Lady Of Harrods this preparation but is confident that she is close to returning to her best form and is a definite winning chance in the Carpet Call Handicap this weekend.
“The thing about her is that she’s such a big, strong mare and we have finally got her down to her weight,” Cameron told AAP.
“We’ve been a bit disappointed with her but I think she’s just starting to really get there now.
“I just think she looks great and if everything goes alright, I’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t run really well.”
The Carpet Call Handicap is an extremely open betting race and Lady Of Harrods is the current favourite at odds of $6 but there is little separating the leading chances; with Cranbourne-based Winta Chiller ($6.50), last-start winner Extra Virgin ($7.50), Darren Weir-trained Flying Hostess ($8), New Zealand Guineas placegetter Oasis Rose ($8.50), provincial galloper Dance For Cash ($9) and the resuming Aurora Lights ($9) all considered winning chances.
Lady Of Harrods is owned by a syndicate that includes leading AFL journalist Mike Sheahan, former Collingwood Captain Wayne Richardson as well as retired North Melbourne players Mark Dawson and Kerry Good.