Trainer Robert Smerdon will decide on an ATC Oaks start with his super filly Mosheen after she contests the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Vinery looks to be a race in two with Guy Walter’s Streama the only other filly under double figures at $2.90 while Mosheen is the ruling short priced favourite at $1.50.
Mosheen is going into the Vinery against the fillies with two dynamic Group 1 wins over the colts and geldings in the $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3 and the $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 17.
Smerdon has the Fastnet Rock filly ready to step up to 2000m and if she comes through Saturday’s run okay will step her up again to the 2400m of the Group 1 $550,000 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 21.
“We will make a decision after the race whether she pushes on but if there is any indication she is at the end of it we’ll stop. If she performed well and recovered well we’ll look at the Oaks but we’re not committed either way,” Smerdon said.
Mosheen has drawn out wide again albeit in a small field after Danny Nikolic produced a first class ride to bring her from the outside of sixteen to take out the Australian Guineas then reproduced that effort again in winning the Randwick Guineas from twelve out of fourteen.
Smerdon is wary of the small field and believes that Nikolic will have to produce another out of the box ride.
“Quite often small fields throw up tricky circumstances, you’ve got to adapt to that but obviously every race requires a good ride,” Smerdon said.
“After the Guineas a friend of mine suggested I replace him, saying he couldn’t possibly ride her that good again, but he did so there you go.”
Nikolic won’t be going into the race complacent and realises that he will have to be on top of his game again.
“She’s drawn a tricky barrier again so no doubt there will be jockeys looking for her in the run, being a short-priced favourite,” Nikolic said.
“But I have got the upside that she’s got very good barrier speed if I want it out of the barriers, and she’ll take a sit, so I’ll just ride her to suit the race.”
“I’m not going to go out there with a set plan. I’m just going to ride her like she’s the best horse.”
At this stage of her campaign Nikolic agrees with Smerdon that the Crown Oaks winner is looking for the 2000m of The Vinery.
“She’s probably racing like she needs a bit further so the rise to 2000 metres is going to be a good thing for her I believe,” he said.
Trainer Guy Walter is also happy with his filly Streama and said she has progressed nicely since her last start fifth to Ofcourseican in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24.
Sydney’s leading jockey Hugh Bowman will be looking for his sixth win on the filly after being aboard in all her victories.
Even though Walter is stepping the Stratum filly up to 2000m for the first time, he is confident she will handle it going on her six lengths win in the Group 1 $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes over 1600m at Randwick last October.
“The small field can present problems as far as pace goes,” Walter said.
“It’s not ideal going into the 2000m when she has been ridden out of the barriers at her last couple of starts but having said that in the past she has proved herself very adaptable and she will show that again.”