Dual acceptor Shumookh will take her place against her own age group in the Group 2 $200,000 Chandon S Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Shumooch was also an acceptor for the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) but after drawing barrier eighteen in the nineteen horse field, co-trainer Adrian Bott said the decision was made to run the Dream Ahead filly against the three year olds in the Phar Lap Stakes.
“There was a lot of toing and froing as to what race to go in. We always wanted to give her the chance to have a crack at that Coolmore, particularly with 50kg on her back,” Bott told Sky Sports Radio’s Racing HQ.
“The way it has worked out with the draw it is probably just going to be conservative and go the easier option which we feel is the Phar Lap.”
“She looks well placed there. She is not a Stakes winner yet and I think at the end of the day that was the decision to try and capitalize on a Stakes win just for her value going forward.”
Shumookh is sitting at the top of the betting at $2.70 with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Phar Lap Stakes and heads into Saturday’s contest with some very strong form with a second to Alizee in the Group 2 $200,000 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 17 followed by a third to Shoals in the Group 1 $500,000 James Boag’s Premium Surround Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on March 3.
Bott, who trains in partnership with Gai Waterhouse, said the stable was very happy with Shumookh’s form heading into the Phar Lap Stakes and have been pleased with her work since her placing in the Surround Stakes.
“She has been an absolute marvel this preparation, just continues to improve, she is thriving on her work and just keeps taking that next step on each occasion,” Bott said.
“I feel she is well placed here and hopefully she can go one better on Saturday.”
“She is in great shape so the fact that we are going to the Phar Lap isn’t anything against her chances on the weekend, it is more so just trying to capitalize on the most winnable option,” Bott said.
“It is a wide open Coolmore and it is incredibly difficult to beat the older mares even though the three year olds have a great record in that race. And the tricky draw, that was just the final straw for us.”
Shumookh has drawn barrier five in the twelve horse Phar Lap Stakes field and Tim Clark is certain to take full advantage of the good gate and have the filly in the firing line from the outset.
The closest to Shumookh in the betting at $7 is the Team Hawkes trained Renewal who is the winner of both his race starts this campaign.
Renewal has drawn awkwardly at barrier nine and will be ridden again by Brenton Avdulla who was aboard for the gelding’s wins in the a 1250m BenchMark 73 Handicap at Canterbury on February 9 and in a 1300m BenchMark 74 Handicap at Rosehill on February 28.