Trainer Chris Waller is confident that resuming mare Catkins will prove very tough to beat in the 2014 Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Catkins has not been seen at the races since she finished a disappointing sixth behind Diamond Drille in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, but has performed well in two barrier trials at Warwick Farm on May 29 and Rosehill Gardens on May 27.
Waller said that Catkins has taken plenty of benefit out of her freshen-up and is full of confidence that she will win the Dane Ripper Stakes this weekend before returning to Group 1 level for the Tattersall’s Tiara (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
“She trialed well and freshened up nicely,” Waller said.
“It is a lovely race and she is suited by the set weights and penalties.
“She has a wider draw, but it shouldn’t worry her as she is a go forward sort of horse.
“She should be very hard to beat.”
Catkins started her 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow win over Steps In Time in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15 and ran away from the rest of the field to score a comfortable two lengths win in the Group 3 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 8.
The Dubawi mare was allocated the top weight of 58 kilograms for the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22 and managed to carry the tough impost to a third place finish before returning to winning form in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5.
Catkins was well-backed to record her maiden win at Group 1 level in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and she received a lovely run into the race, but was unable to show her usual acceleration and finished a poor sixth in one of the worst runs of her career.
Catkins is currently available at 2014 Dane Ripper Stakes odds of $3.30 and is a clear favourite from Gai Waterhouse-trained Cosmic Endeavour ($6), Group 1 winner Driefontein ($7.50) and the well-backed Peron ($10).
Waller is chasing his second straight win in the Dane Ripper Stakes after winning the 2013 edition of the race with Red Tracer.