Crown Oaks winner Dear Demi has history in her favour when she lines up in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill tomorrow.
Five of the last ten winners in the Fillies and Mares Classic have been three year olds and Dear Demi goes into the Group 1 following a stunning win in the Group 2 $175,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 9.
Trainer Clarry Conners admits that tomorrow’s race is the toughest his filly has faced but the step up in distance is definitely in her favour.
“This is the hardest race she has been in but I am pretty happy with her,” Conners said.
“When she won over 1400m I said the further they go now the harder it will be to beat her.”
The Peter Moody trained Typhoon Tracy was the last filly to win the Coolmore Classic in 2009 and Conners is banking on a solid pace to help Dear Demi.
“I wish it was 1600m, that’s all, so I’m after speed,” Conners said.
“She worked terrifically on Tuesday morning and Jimmy came back smiling like a Cheshire cat, it made his day.”
Jim Cassidy will continue his association with the Dehere filly after scoring on her in the Surround Stakes as well as winning the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in the Spring last year.
Cassidy was full of praise after Dear Demi’s Surround Stakes win and expects her to go through the rest of the Autumn undefeated against the fillies as she heads towards the Group 1 $550,000 ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 20.
“I don’t think any of these three year old fillies can beat her. So she’ll probably go to the Coolmore and then obviously to the Oaks,” Cassidy said after the Surround Stakes win.
“I’m just impressed the way she’s come back. She had a tough campaign winning the Oaks as we know. I think the rest have to catch up to her now.”
The Coolmore Classic has attracted a strong field of fillies and mares including Group 1 winners Streama, Pear Tart, Appearance and Norzita.
Flight Stakes winner Norzita has been installed the $5.50 favourite but could relinquish that spot to Dear Demi or the inform Steps In Time who are both at $6.
The John O’Shea trained Steps In Time has been impressive at two runs back from a spell winning the Group 2 $175,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill on February 16 and followed that up with a three and a quarter lengths win in the Listed $100,000 Canterbury BMW Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 9.
Trainer Grahame Begg is expecting Bennetta to run an improved race after having no luck from a wide gate in the Surround Stakes.
“She was caught wide and I’m being very forgiving,” Begg said.
“The way the race was run it made it pretty much impossible for her to win.”
“It’s a big test for her, they don’t give Group 1s away on a platter, and she has to rise to the occasion.”
“She’ll probably be midfield with a bit of cover and will get her chance.”
Bennetta is a $7.50 chance just ahead of the Gerald Ryan trained filly Flying Snitzel at $9.