Unable to break through for a maiden victory at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot over the weekend, trainer Robbie Griffiths has revealed he will set classy mare Angelic Light for the featured Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley over the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
Partnered by champion jockey Damien Oliver, Angelic Light took up the pace alongside Moment Of Change in the Winterbottom Stakes and while appearing to be in prime position to find the line in the clear, faded late to finish fifth behind fellow five-year-old mare Magnifisio.
A standout performer over four black type races at Moonee Valley prior to the Winterbottom Stakes, Griffiths believes the firm Ascot track may have played a part in the Holy Roman Emperor mare’s inability to extend to the line and will use the result as a key autumn indicator.
“I thought she was below her best and the two factors that I saw (as factors) were that she was uncomfortable in the straight and possibly the leader (Moment of Change) went a bit solid and we didn’t want to let him get away from us,” Griffiths told Racing Victoria.
“We didn’t know this beforehand, but coming off an injury prior to this prep it looks like the Moonee Valley Strath Ayr is an important part of her game plan now.
“I don’t think the track was soft enough for her. There was nothing wrong with the track, it just wasn’t necessarily soft enough for her liking.
“Looking at her action in the straight she certainly wasn’t as comfortable there as what she has been at Moonee Valley.”
Yet to be confirmed for a specific launch point in autumn, Griffiths said Angelic Light’s return will hinge on the quality of her time in the paddock.
“Exactly when she’ll return is hard to say because we’ll see how she spells naturally, but on the agenda will be the William Reid because of her affinity with Moonee Valley,” Griffiths added.
Claiming five race wins and a further six minor places from just 16 competitive starts so far, Angelic Light spent over a year in the spelling paddock nursing a tendon injury following a close run for second in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Robert Sangster Classic (1200m).
Running third in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) first-up this time, the mare out of Flashed arguably produced the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival’s biggest upset when pipping the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee on the line in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) on September 6th; progressing to fourth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and a close second in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) leading into the Winterbottom.