Trainer Scott Aspery is confident that consistent mare Estonian Princess can produce a typically competitive effort in the 2014 Festival Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Estonian Princess has been unable to record a race win during her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign to date, but finished a close second behind Neena Rock in the Group 3 Angst Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick and was far from disgraced when fifth in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
The Snitzel mare returned to Sydney after finishing fifth in the Group 3 Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown on November 15 and Aspery told Racing Ahead this morning that he is happy with the condition of the four-year-old heading into the Festival Stakes.
“She has come through the run in great order,” Aspery said.
“She has come back from Melbourne and she is a good traveler, so she hasn’t missed a beat.
“She will be there with Brenton Avdulla back on board.
“It is a pretty solid race based on nominations, so it is not going to be a walk in the park.
“As I said I am pretty happy with where she is at this point of her preparation and she will run a very competitive race on Saturday.”
Estonian Princess has already had five race starts this preparation, but Aspery revealed that the Group 3 winner will likely press on to the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on December 13 if she performs well in the Festival Stakes on Saturday.
Aspery remains confident that Estonian Princess is capable of competing at the highest level of racing and he said that the daughter of Snitzel would likely head to the spelling paddock following the Villiers Stakes before returning to begin preparations for a tilt at a race like the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“I think that she is continuing to improve,” Aspery said.
“In the Myer Classic she didn’t have a lot of luck in the straight and she was beaten by less than two lengths and that was probably the best run of her career to date.
“I would like to think that going forward in the autumn we could push towards a race like the Coolmore and test her at Group 1 level again.
“The Festival this weekend and if she runs as expected we will then push on to the Villiers a fortnight later and then assess whether that might do it for this preparation.”
The Festival Stakes has drawn a strong list of nominations and the likes of Generalife, Heart Testa, Hoylonny, Mecir, Monton, Mouro, Scream Machine, Sir Moments and Strawberry Boy have all been included in the initial entries for the Listed event.