Trainer Robert Smerdon has revealed that the 2015 Coolmore Stud Stakes is likely to be the major Spring Racing Carnival target for talented filly Fontiton.
Fontiton underwent surgery to remove bone chips from her off-front fetlock after she was beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28, but she has now been back in work for almost a month and is working towards a jump out before the start of her spring preparation.
Smerdon indicated at the start of the month that the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 could be the major aim for Fontiton, but Smerdon told AAP that he is now likely to keep the daughter of Turffontein to sprinting trips and is eyeing the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
“We know what she can do over the shorter trips,” Smerdon said.
“She probably won’t have a lot of racing through the spring and we’ll probably stay to the shorter trips, I would imagine.
“I think she’s a bit late coming in for the Thousand Guineas and we don’t know whether she runs a mile.”
Fontiton stamped herself as a horse to follow when she recorded an impressive win under a tight hold in a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne on October 20 and she went straight to the top of Blue Diamond Stakes and Golden Slipper Stakes betting markets when she scored a dominant six lengths victory in the Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.
The two-year-old was sent to the spelling paddock immediately after her debut victory and set for the Blue Diamond Stakes before she returned to racing with a tough win over Haybah in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Preview (1000m) at Sandown on January 26.
Fontiton produced an improved performance to take out the Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 in fairly comfortable fashion, but she was unable to show any real acceleration in the Blue Diamond Stakes and she could finish no better than fifth behind Pride Of Dubai.
Smerdon has not have a runner in the Coolmore Stud Stakes since Admired finished fifth behind Theatre in the 1998 edition of the race and he narrowly missed the placings in 1996 when Aragon Prince finished fourth behind Encosta De Lago.