Trainer Joe Pride is banking on his smart mare Steps In Time having a fitness edge over her rivals in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Steps In Time is dropping back in distance from 1500m to 1200m after winning the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill on March 22 and Pride can see this as a real advantage with the Randwick track to be rated in the heavy range.
“When you are coming back on wet tracks fitness is everything and it will stand her in really good stead tomorrow,” Pride told Racing HQ.
Pride said he is following a similar pattern that he used with his other Group 1 winning galloper Vision And Power who won the 2009 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill on a heavy track dropping back from a fourth over 2000m in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill two weeks prior.
Vision And Power then went on to win the Group 1 $2m Doncaster Mile over 1600m at Randwick.
“She is pretty closely related to Vision And Power and hope she has some of her close relation’s genes there,’ Pride said.
“Vision And Power and Sacred Choice both won their Doncaster coming back in distance, back to a shorter trip and on wet tracks.”
Pride will also saddle up Tigers Tees and See The World in the T J Smith Stakes and says all three runners will handle the heavy conditions.
“I can find a reason to say they are all going to run well,” Pride told AAP.
“Probably the best-performed at the moment is Steps In Time and I think she’s going super but I don’t take anything away from the other two’s chances.
“And especially once we start looking at a real wet track, they start coming right into it.”
Blake Shinn will be having his first ride on the Steps In Time, taking over from regular rider Jim Cassidy who is required to ride the Chris Waller trained Zoustar.
“He hasn’t had a ride on the mare yet so he has to get it right on the day,” Pride said.
Cassidy has been aboard Steps In Time at her two runs this preparation and rode a daring front running race to get the Danehill Dancer mare home by a nose from Sweet Idea in the Coolmore Classic.
Steps In Time is the most fancied of Pride’s T J Smith Stakes runners with Ladbrokes.com.au who have her listed as a $17 chance while last start Group 1 Galaxy winner Tiger Tees is marked at $26 with See The World one of the outsiders of the field at $51.
The Mick Price trained Lankan Rupee heads the market order at $3.80 ahead of Buffering at $6, Irish sprinter Gordon Lord Byron at $8 and Rebel Dane at$12.