Maastricht will defend her unbeaten record in the 2014 Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and the run is set to decide what path the promising filly follows during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Maastricht made her racing debut with a comfortable win in a maiden at Echuca on July 7 and started her spring preparation with another impressive performance in the 49 Days To Bendigo Cup Handicap (1400m) on September 10.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes admits that Maastricht faces a significant step-up in class this weekend, but believes that the daughter of Mastercraftsman has done enough to indicate that she can be competitive in a race like the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m).
“That win at Echuca was very good,” Hawkes told Racing Ahead.
“We went there to have a kill first-up and even second-up the other day was very, very good.
“She just wanted to hit the line and she is a racehorse.
“She deserves her place in a race like this, the bigger track will suit and hopefully as the journeys get on she will be better for it.
“It is her first preparation and what she is doing now she will get better with time.”
Maastricht has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 6, but the staying event looms as the most likely target for the three-year-old.
Hawkes refused to rule out the possibility of backing Maastricht up in the Thousand Guineas next weekend, but said that the stable will be taking it one step at a time with the progressive filly.
“We are taking it race by race, but hopefully she can keep stepping up in distance,” Hawkes said.
“Saturday will give us another guide on where she is at and where she is going.
“Hopefully that might be the path that she is going on.
“Our horses do come first and we have to get through the runs before we decide.
“After Saturday we will know a lot more.”
Maastricht opened at Edward Manifold Stakes odds of $10, but she has been one of the best-backed runners across the entire Flemington card and she is now into a quote of $3 with Ladbrokes Australia and is a clear favourite from the lightly-raced Pittsburgh Flyer ($5.50), debut winner Little Hottie ($8.50) and Mick Price-trained Royal Ocean ($8.50).