Trainer Danny O’Brien is confident the conditions of Saturday’s Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield will play into the strengths of classy filly Merriest first-up.
Merriest has only made two competitive appearances at the races since debuting in late April, and was returned to the paddock for a freshen-up after failing to make an impact when sixth in the Phar Lap Club Plate (1100m) on May 7th.
O’Brien told Racing Ahead that he has been pleased with the progression made by the daughter of Denman through recent weeks, and will instruct jockey Damien Oliver to take a forward position in the Quezette Stakes.
“We couldn’t put a finger on it. We expected her to run really well but down the straight that day, she was below par,” O’Brien said.
“Obviously there are some horses that don’t take their form from other tracks to the straight track. We tipped her out straight away afterwards and the way she’s trialled since, we’d be expecting her to be performing the way she did at Caulfield in her first run.
“She wasn’t far away that day she won there, so I’d imagine she’ll be forward.”
Trialling well in the lead-up to her competitive debut, Merriest jumped well in the Cove Hotel Handicap (1100m) on April 23rd and immediately took a position on the heels of the races early leaders.
Allowed plenty of time to steady upon arriving at the final straight, the filly immediately responded when asked for an extra effort by jockey James Winks; charging clear to hit the line close to three lengths ahead of closest rival Phoenix Rising.
Immediately led to the fore of the field in the Phar Lap Club Plate, Merriest set a fair tempo for the field of nine but failed to produce anything of a late kick.
Drawn in barrier 10 for her run in the Quezette Stakes, Merriest has been charged with carrying only 55kgs; taking two-and-a-half from topweight Concealer.
Merriest is currently available at 2016 Quezette Stakes odds of $9 for success with Ladbrokes Australia.