Co-trainer Lee Freedman is happy with the physical condition of Matilija, but he admits that the talented mare is no certainty to run out a strong 1500 metres in the 2015 Summoned Stakes at Sandown tomorrow.
Matilija started her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a solid effort at Pakenham on September 16, but she did not have a great deal of luck in both the Pancare Foundation (1100m) at Caulfield on September 26 and the Group 3 Cape Grim Beef Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on October 10, but she returned to a semblance of her best form with a fast-finishing fourth in the Group 3 Mumm Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on November 5.
Medaglia D’Oro mare will step up 400 metres to 1500 metres for the Summoned Stakes and she previously finished at the tail of the field over 1400 metres in the Group 3 Carr Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick, but Freedman told Racing Ahead that he was willing to give the four-year-old a crack at the distance in the Summoned Stakes, which is the last stakes races for mares in Melbourne this year.
“Her two runs at Caulfield she had absolutely no luck in the race,” Freedman said.
“I knew that she was going pretty well, as evidenced by her run in the Group 3 on Oaks Day, and the problem with her is that I don’t know about the trip.
“Coming off that run, fitness is not query and it is just a matter of whether she can physically run that distance.
“Physically she is as fit as she can be, but you can have the fittest horse in the world and if they can’t physically run a distance they won’t run it.
“I don’t know, so I am going to run her and find out.”
Matilija has shown a great deal of tactical versatility during her racing career to date and she took up the running in the Cape Grim Beef Stakes, while she was settled towards the tail of the field in the Mumm Stakes.
Freedman said that he will instruct jockey James McDonald to settle towards the tail of the field in the Summoned Stakes, which he hopes will give her the best opportunity to run out the trip strongly.
“I will be asking James if he can ride her a little quite tomorrow,” Freedman said.
“In a deep field like that we don’t want to be right out the back, but I would like to see him a nice cozy sixth or seventh in the run.”
Matilija is currently available at Summoned Stakes odds of $10 with Ladbrokes, while Scarlet Billows ($4.80) is a narrow favourite from She’s Clean ($7.50), Solicit ($8.50), Ballet Suite ($8.50) and Coronation Shallan ($9).