Co-trainer James Cummings is excited about the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival prospects of promising mare Shamalia ahead of her return to racing in the 2014 Sheraco Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Shamalia has not been seen at the races since she finished eighth behind Sidestep in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, but she impressed with two strong efforts in barrier trials at Warwick Farm on August 15 and August 29.
Cummings does not believe that the expected wet track at Rosehill Gardens this weekend will produce too many problems for Shamalia, who finished fourth in the Listed Gosford Guineas (1200m) on a heavy track in April, and he is confident that the Shamardal filly can start her spring preparation with a strong effort in the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) this weekend.
“I am really happy to see her first first-up,” Cummings said.
“I know that the track could well be heavy and that might work against her first-up, but she has performed really well on a wet track at Gosford in the Gosford Guineas.
“I think that she is the sort of horse that could have taken a step into her four-year-old season and I think that she is going to have a really good preparation ahead of her.
“We have been very quietly confident about her two trials so far and I think that we are on the right track with her.
“She could be really competitive well into the spring as we travel down to Melbourne.”
The 2014 Sheraco Stakes has drawn a large field of 15 fillies and mares; with Chris Waller-trained Catkins set to start as a clear favourite in the Group 3 event.
Catkins has been one of the most consistent mares in Australia over the past 12 months and she will be chasing her sixth victory at Group level when she returns to the races in the Sheraco Stakes.
One of the most interesting runners in the Sheraco Stakes filed is talented filly Echo Gal, who has recorded two wins from as many race starts this preparation.
Echo Gal was touted as a Magic Millions contender when she won by four lengths on debut in the Rewards Plate (1000m) at Warwick Farm on December 11, but failed to fire in her subsequent starts as a two-year-old, but she has impressed with two front-running victories at Canterbury since she returned to the races as a three-year-old.
Joseph Pride-trained Chintz, the resume Belle De Coeur, last start winner Maroon Bay and Group 3 winner Estonian Princess have also been included in the Sheraco Stakes field.