Hurtle Myrtle has been quite comfortable running around Sydney her entire career but this Saturday she’ll broaden her horizons as she looks for interstate success.
Her fifth place finish in the Scone Dark Jewel Classic was her first ever run away from Sydney and she’s travelling even further as we speak up to the Brisbane Winter Carnival at Eagle Farm.
What greats her is no easy assignment, the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes is, well, a ripper of a field to say the least.
For trainer Mathew Smith it’s a chance to give her some much needed travelling experience and at the same time give her a shot at a second stakes win.
“She hasn’t travelled much so it will be good for her to get up there and have a change of environment,” he said.
There is a capacity field of 18 ready to run on Saturday across a trip of 1400m.
Smith got a big bonus in the barrier draw earlier in the week and gate four should keep Hurtle Myrtle out of a lot of the early trouble.
Her chances will be boosted even further if the track stays in the current Dead rating range.
“I think definitely the key to her is a bit of cut out of the ground,” Smith said.
“She didn’t appreciate the hard tracks at her first couple back.
“It is dead there at the moment, which is at least better than a good three.”
She has won at Group 2 level before back in April when she accounted for the dead track at Randwick better than her competition in the Sapphire Stakes.
That was a fantastic result for Smith who persisted with the horse despite injury keeping her off the track for almost 12 months.
Hurtle Myrtle is probably Smith’s most important runner on the day but he won’t have a lot of time to think about it with race scheduling keeping him very busy.
He only has four horses in action across the country on Saturday but in the space of three quarters of an hour they will all be running, making things more interesting is the fact they’re across three different tracks.
The first will be at Newcastle just after 2:30 when Brandy Beau kicks off Smith’s hopes for the day.
Hurtle Myrtle is due to jump at Eagle Farm less than five minutes after the conclusion of that race and then 10 minutes later Hatton Garden will be on track at Rosehill.
His attention will be back to Newcastle at 3:15 when Madame Papillion caps of what he hopes will be a fourth win in 40 odd minutes.
“Her last couple in midweek grade have been very good and she looks to be an improving type,” Smith said.
“She keeps hitting the line so I’m keen to give her a shot (at Saturday level).
“I think she’ll be a nice mare next time in and with this preparation, it will toughen her up and she might even be able to take another step.”