Trainer Robert Smerdon is confident that Fontiton is a much fitter horse ahead of the 2015 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude at Caulfield tomorrow.
Fontiton stamped herself as a leading contender for the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1000m) with a dominant six lengths win in the Inglis Banner (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and she maintained her unbeaten record with a narrow victory over Haybah in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Preview (1000m) at Sandown on Australia Day.
Smerdon admitted after the race that Fontiton was far from peak fitness levels in the Blue Diamond Fillies Preview, but he told Racing Ahead that she took plenty of improvement from her return to racing and is ready to produce an improved performance in the Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude this weekend.
“She is really well,” Smerdon said.
“We went in there apprehensive because we knew we had a fair bit of improvement and it was good to see her in the circumstances still win the race.
“She took obvious benefit out of that and she has had a couple of hit-outs since.
“She goes in a fitter horse, as she would obviously need to in a further race.
“She is drawn a bit awkwardly, but we are pretty happy with the way that she presents.”
Fontiton did not leave the gates clearly in the Blue Diamond Fillies Preview and was forced to settle in a midfield position, but Smerdon believes that the poor start will be a once off and is confident she will leave the barrier cleanly tomorrow.
The veteran trainer said that he is unsure where jockey Mark Zahra will elect to settle Fontiton in the early stages of the Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude and will wait until he sees how the track plays because he gives the hoop any firm instructions.
“She jumped in the air, which is just a one off thing,” Smerdon said.
“She has been out of the gates since in a jump out here and jumped clearly and I don’t think that is a concern.
“I think that there is a lot of speed and I think that she has to forward.
“I will have to have a discussion with Mark before the race, but I am not absolutely sure how that is going to play out.”
Fontiton available at 2015 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude odds of $2.60 with Ladbrokes and is a clear favourite from Secret Agenda ($3.10), Flamboyant Lass ($8) and Heatherly ($8).