Trainer Chris Waller is happy to tinker with the gear of the in-form Catkins heading into the Group 1 $1m Cellarbrations Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
In an attempt to secure her first Group 1 win, Waller informed Racing New South Wales stewards that Catkins will race in winkers this week after winning the Group 2 $175,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 5 with the blinkers on.
A press release from Racing New South Wales stated that Waller heeded the advice of top Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman who rode the grey mare to victory last Saturday week and suggested the minor gear could be a Group 1 winning move.
“Mr Waller indicated the gear change had been the recommendation of Hugh Bowman who believes it will assist in helping Catkins settle better in the event over 1600 metres and assist the mare finishing off its race,” the statement read.
It is uncommon to change the gear after a horse has won but Stewards gave Waller permission to remove the blinkers from the Queen Of The Turf Stakes favourite and add the winkers for Saturday.
Catkins has raced twice at Group I level for two placings including a third two starts back to Steps In Time in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 22.
The Dubawi mare’s other attempt at winning a Group 1 was dashed when beaten a nose by stablemate Red Tracer in the Group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington in the Spring.
Catkins has maintained her good form right throughout the Autumn with her win in the Emancipation Stakes being her third victory from four starts this campaign.
The four year old mare scored first up in the Group 2 $175,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill on February 15 before winning the Group 3 $150,000 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 8.
Catkins and Red Tracer are set to class again in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and Waller said that both mares are set to produce another close encounter.
“They are ready to fire,” Waller said on Racing Review on Sunday.
“Catkins is absolutely flying and Red Tracer had a little glitch.
Waller is confident that Red Tracer will be back to her best on Saturday after finishing out a place for the first time in twelve months when tenth in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 29.
Jockey Michael Rodd reported to stewards on that occasion that Red Tracer failed to respond to his riding in the straight and following a subsequent veterinary examination it was also reported that the mare was displaying a poor post-race recovery.
Catkins, at $3 in the market order for the Queen Of The Turf Stakes is just shading her stablemate Red Tracer for favouritism who has been marked at $3.80.
Melbourne filly Solicit is the next in the betting at $5 with last start Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes winner Gypsy Diamond at $7.