Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon is willing to forgive his Group I mare Lone Rock one poor performance leading up to Friday night’s Power Tracker William Reid Stakes.
Lone Rock will be coming up against the same tough opposition in the 1200m $400,000 WFA Group 1 at Moonee Valley which includes the great Hay List, trainer Robert Heathcote pair Buffering and Woorim, Beaded and Foxwedge.
The Fastnet Rock mare resumed from a spell with a respectable fifth to Black Caviar in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
Then she could only beat one runner home in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 won by Hay List.
Smerdon was at a lose to explain the Goodwood Handicap winner’s poor performance but is willing to overlook that run and give her another chance against the best sprinters going around.
“There is an old adage in racing that you have got to forgive a horse a bad run and that is what we chose to do,” Smerdon said.
“Her lead-up run in the Lightning Stakes was terrific and the form around that really stood up in the Newmarket but she really went missing on Newmarket day.”
“She was very disappointing. We couldn’t offer and explanation on the day and subsequently she has been really good so we’ll put that behind us.”
Even though Lone Rock will be meeting most of the other William Reid runners on worst terms under the weight for age scale, Smerdon is confident that we will see a marked improvement in the mare.
“She’s probably a little bit disadvantaged at weight-for-age but we are really happy with the horse,” he said.
“It’s all of the top sprinters, except Black Caviar, so she will have to be on top of her game.”
“We think she can be competitive, otherwise we wouldn’t be heading there.”
In form jockey Craig Williams will take over from Glen Boss on Lone Rock who is currently the equal outsider of the field with the Peter Moody trained Mid Summer Music at $31.
Newmarket Handicap winner Hay List is the obvious favourite at $1.30 with Woorim at $10 and stable mate Buffering at $12 along with three year old Foxwedge.
The Jim Conlan trained Rekindled Interest is resuming in the William Reid and has a good first up record including a second in the Group 3 $150,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in August last year after a forty week absence from the racetrack.
The Redoubte’s Choice gelding hasn’t raced since finishing third to Glass Harmonium in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and a third to Pinker Pinker in the Group 1 $3m Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) last Spring.