The Gai Waterhouse stable has no worries that a drop back in distance will affect the chances of Queenstown, one of the top fancies in the Listed $100,000 Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Stable foreman Mark Newnham said the addition of blinkers to the five year old mare has helped after she was freshened up after winning the Listed $150,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) at Grafton on July 10.
“She has had a fairly easy time of it and she has freshened up to run well,” Newnham told AAP.
“She is well enough to sprint really well.”
“She never runs badly. She is one of those mares who runs well in whatever you put her in.”
Another bold showing by the Stratum mare at Rosehill will encourage the stable to focus on some of the major Spring Carnival races with the Group 1 $400,000 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 4 a likely target.
“She hasn’t had a lot of racing and hopefully the best is yet to come,” Newnham said.
Waterhouse is keen to start the new racing season with an early feature race win after finishing second in the Sydney trainer’s premiership for 2013- 2014 with eighty-one and half wins, seventy-seven wins behind Chris Waller who prepared one hundred and fifty-eight and a half winners for the season.
While Queenstown is sharing favouritism for the Winter Challenge with topweight Scream Machine at $4 with Ladbrokes.com.au, Waller has the advantage of saddling up half of the eight horse field.
The shortest of the Waller runners in the market order is the European import He’s Your Man at $5.50 with I’m Imposing at $7.50, and Coup Ay Tee and Tougher Than Ever both marked at $14.
In a fairly tight betting race, the Bart and James Cummings trained Romantic Moon is also well fancied and is currently a firming $4.80 chance.
Brenton Avdulla gets his chance to ride Romantic Moon after missing out on the mount last start because of suspension, replacing Christain Reith who steered the four year old mare into second spot behind the in-form Generalife in the Listed $100,000 Myer Fashion Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on July 19.
Tim Clark remains with Queenstown after the pair combined to win the Grafton Cup.