Unbeaten filly Elite Elle faces her biggest test at Caulfield tomorrow when she steps up to Group 3 company on a good track for the first time.
Touted as possibly one of the best wet trackers for many years to race in Victoria, Elite Elle has won all four of her starts on rain affected tracks with champion jockey Damien Oliver declaring the filly ‘a swimmer’ after riding her to win the Listed $120,000 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 18.
“It’s very rare to get one that slips through it easily as she does,” Oliver said.
Elite Elle’s ability to handle the wet ground saw the Shamardal filly leave Blue Diamond winner Samaready in her wake after that filly failed to handle the heavy 10 at Caulfield and struggle into fourth spot as the $2.30 favourite.
Caulfield trainer Tony Vasil is hoping the wet winter continues into the Spring but is not likely to get his wish tomorrow with the Caulfield track rated a good 3 on Friday Morning.
Even with the track rated good, Elite Elle has been heavily backed in pre-race betting and is the firming $2.50 favourite for the Group 3 $150,000 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) tomorrow.
“Even on a dead track she feels the ground,” Vasil said.
“It’s a matter of whether we make the most of this wet winter, or look at the Thousand Guineas.”
Vasil will be guided by the weather as well as Elite Elle’s performance at Caulfield tomorrow before confirming a start in the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 17.
“The tracks have certainly helped her and they have been a problem for some of the others,” Vasil said.
“We’ll wait and see how she is on top of the ground before we make any firm decisions.”
With the weekend weather forecast indicating only a few showers, Melbourne Racing Club track manager Jason Kerr can’t see the track deteriorating past a Dead 4.
And as well as having to step out onto a dry surface, Elite Elle will be facing some stiffer opposition at Group 3 level.
Gai Waterhouse has sent Group 1 placegetter Kabayan to Melbourne to run in the McNeil Stakes to avoid a clash with her super colt Pierro who is resuming in the Group 3 $125,000 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill.
Kabayan emerged late in the Winter to compete at Group 1 level and was run down in the last few strides by top Queensland colt Sizzling in the $500,000 Patinack Farm T J Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
And trainer Gerald Ryan has a high opinion of his three year old colt Amorino who is rated a $9 chance in the McNeil, behind Kabayan at $5.
Ryan decided to come to Melbourne early for the Group 1 $1m Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 13 and bypass the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 15 to avoid an early Spring clash with boom colt All Too Hard.
“We are looking to place him to his best advantage,” Ryan said.
“He trialled well the other day and has come back in good order.”
“He is nominated for the Golden Rose but if he goes to Melbourne on Saturday he will stay down there for his lead-up races to the Guineas.”
Elite Elle is currently on the third line of betting in early Thousand Guineas’ markets at $9 behind Patinack Farm’s Nechita at $4 and promising filly Commanding Jewel at $7.