Trainer Robert Smerdon was impressed with the jump out performance of Fontiton at Sandown this morning and believes that the talented juvenile is on track for her return to racing in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Sandown on January 26.
Fontiton contested the opening trial of the morning over 800 metres and she jumped from the gates fairly to settle in the middle of the seven horse field, while being kept under a heavy hold by jockey Mark Zahra.
The Turffontein filly responded quickly when urged along by Zahra and she took up the running before she was eased down in the final 100 metres to finish third.
Smerdon told TVN that Fontiton did exactly when he wanted in the jump out this morning and he is happy with where the two-year-old is at heading into her 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign that will likely be highlighted by a tilt at the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28.
“She will have a solid hit-out with a mate next Tuesday at Caulfield and then we will decide from there but the Preview fits in well with our plans,” Smerdon said.
“I’d say she could still be a bit underdone for the Preview.
“We have a few targets in mind and it isn’t her grand final so there will be more up the sleeve.
“I could have trialed her today but I just wasn’t sure how far forward she was, that is why I just gave her the jump-out and told Mark to let her stride 600m and then let her ease down.
“She was still going quite strong towards the end of the gallop, which is a good sign.”
Fontiton first garnered attention when she led from start to finish to win a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne on October 20 in impressive fashion and she stamped herself as a leading contender for both the Blue Diamond Stakes and Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) when she made her racing debut with a dominant six lengths win in the Inglis Banner (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.
The impressive Inglis Banner victory currently has Fontiton sitting on top of the Timeform Two-Year-Old Ratings at a mark of 113 from Vancouver (111), Furnaces (110p) and Wicked Intent (110p) and she is currently available at 2015 Golden Slipper odds of $10 with Ladbrokes Australia.