Tough filly Fontein Ruby will back up this week and take on a capacity field of three year olds in Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.
Fontein Ruby had to work hard in the early stages to find the lead and then fought on in the straight to run second by a length to Sabatini in the Group 2 $200,000 Polytrack Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Trainer Robert Smerdon was very pleased with the run and said the Turffontein filly had pulled up well and is ready to go around again this weekend.
“She goes really well at Flemington and although backing up in a week is not ideal she has the constitution to pull it off,” Smerdon told the Herald Sun.
“She is third up and she worked harder and longer from a wide gate last Saturday so she is ready for the 1600m.”
Fontein Ruby, one of two fillies in the Australian Guineas, the other being the Peter Moody trained Sweet And Speedy, should be able to find the lead easier this week from barrier two and have a little bit more left in the tank at the end of the long Flemington straight.
Jockey Chad Schofield will be having his first ride on the Smerdon trained filly, taking over from regular rider Mark Zahra who is on the sideline due to suspension.
Zahra was suspended for ten meetings and is out until midnight March 9 for causing interference in the Group 1 $1m Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield last Saturday after stewards claimed he allowed his mount, race favourite Fontiton, to shift in at the 200m causing interference to eventual winner Pride Of Dubai.
Fontein Ruby has been placed at both her runs this preparation and resumed with a third to Sabatini in the Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 14 before her second in the Angus Armanasco Stakes.
During her 2014 Spring Carnival campaign Fontein Ruby showed her class with a win against the fillies in the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Edward Manifold Stakes over the same course and distance as the Australian Guineas on October 4 and then beat the colts and geldings in the Group 3 $750,000 racing.com Caulfield Classic (2000m) at Caulfield two weeks later.
The Chris Waller trained Kermadec heads the market order for the Australian Guineas with Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.60 ahead of last Saturday’s Autumn Classic winner Alpine Eagle at $7 and Gai Waterhouse’s Wandjina at $8.
Fontein Ruby is marked as an $17 chance while Sweet And Speedy is at the healthy odds of $26.