Trainer Shawn Mathrick is confident that Gig can be competitive when she makes her debut at Listed level in the Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Gig has had four starts for Mathrick since joining his stable, after previously being prepared by Peter Snowden, and performed well in the Skipton Handicap (1630m) at Flemington on December 21 before breaking through for her first race win in over a year in the Riverside Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
The Commands mare has suffered feet issues for the last twelve months but Mathrick told Racing Ahead that he believes he has the problem under control and is delighted with her fitness levels heading into the $120,000 race this weekend.
“She is fantastic and she has just improved out of sight; I can’t believe how much it has brought her on,” Mathrick said.
“It is documented that she had feet problems and we are just nursing her along.
“It really is the racing that is bringing her fitness up and she is doing well.”
Gig performed well when owned by the Darley operation but was never able to make the step-up to black type racing and Mathrick admits that he is throwing the mare in the deep end when she takes on a number of proven Group level performers on Saturday.
“I am just learning with her,” Mathrick said.
“We chucked her in the deep end and I thought it was a good time of year because a lot of the good horses are still out for the autumn.
“She is going to go in with a nice weight, she is fit, she is well and we will just have a look at her and see where she is at.
“If she keeps improving she should be competitive.”
Mathrick purchased Gig for $61,000 at the Inglis 2013 August Thoroughbred Sale, despite her foot problems, and revealed that he is confident that the five-year-old out of Busking has great potential as a broodmare; with a win in the Chester Manifold Stakes sure to increase the value of her progeny.
“I saw there that she had feet issues but she had been racing ok anyway and previously to her feet problems she had been winning,” Mathrick said of his decision to purchase Gig.
“I thought if I could get her anywhere back to the mark I would have a nice mare to win races with and later on to breed with.”
Gig will carry 54kg in the Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington this weekend and will be ridden by Chris Symons.