Trainer Phillip Stokes has revealed that the 2016 Robert Sangster Stakes could be the major autumn target for talented filly Miss Gunpowder.
Miss Gunpowder was sent to the spelling paddock after she failed to fire in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10, but some minor foot issues meet that she has only now returned to her stable at Morphettville.
The late return to the stable means that Miss Gunpowder is likely to miss the 2016 Melbourne Festival Of Racing, but Stokes told Racing Ahead that the Pendragon filly could head to Sydney or remain in Adelaide for a crack at the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on April 30.
“She is back in the stable as we speak,” Stokes said.
“She had a couple of feet issues, so it took a bit longer than we wanted to to bring her back.
“I need to remap her program, but we have plenty of black-type races here and there is a race like the Robert Sangster that we might be able to look at or there is Sydney obviously.”
Miss Gunpowder made her racing debut when she recorded an impressive victory in the Darley Handicap (1050m) at Morphettville on March 14 and she started her spring preparation with another strong win in the Irish Race Day Handicap (1100m) at the same venue on July 25.
The three-year-old made her Melbourne racing debut with a fast-finishing third behind Petits Filous and Jalan Jalan in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 15 before she returned to Adelaide to take out the Hughes Chauffeured Limos Handicap (1250m) at Morphettville Parks on September 5.
Miss Gunpowder confirmed her status as a leading contender for the Thousand Guineas when she led from start to finish to take out the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26, but she was unable to reproduce that effort in the Thousand Guineas and she tired late to finish a disappointing eighth.
Stokes is chasing his first win in the Robert Sangster Stakes after previously missing the placings with Just Discreet (eighth behind Driefontein in 2014 and eighth behind Platelet in 2013), Molto Bene (12th behind Driefontein in 2014), Symphony Miss (12th behind Bel Mer in 2009), St Trinians (13th behind Bel Mer in 2009 and sixth behind Just Momente in 2008).