Co-trainer Lee Freedman revealed that the 2017 Thousand Guineas could be the long-term goal for Shoals following her impressive victory in the 2017 Percy Sykes Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
There was plenty of action in the early stages of the Percy Sykes Stakes and it was a while before the fillies settled in their positions, but Shoals ended up receiving a lovely trail into the race just behind the speed.
Serena Bay cruised to the lead at the top of the straight and looked as though she could run away from the rest of this field, but Shoals and Formality both finished stronger and cleared out to fight out the finish in the last 50 metres.
Shoals and Formality hit the line together, but it was Shoals that got her nose down at the right time to record the biggest win of her racing career to date.
Freedman revealed after the race that he did not think that Shoals handled the track in the Percy Sykes Stakes and believes there is still more ahead of the Fastnet Rock filly that will be set for the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) during the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival.
“She didn’t show a lot early, but this prep she has really gone fantastic,” Freedman said.
“To be a Group 3 and a Group 2 winner and be unbeaten in three starts shows that she is a filly of great promise.
“I don’t think that she really handled the track today either.
“She has done a great job and she deserves a break.
“She may be a genuine Thousand Guineas contender the way that she raced today.”
Jockey Mark Zahra said after the Percy Sykes Stakes that he thought Shoals was going to win the Thousand Guineas comfortably, but she had a look around when she hit the front.
“It was a great win,” Zahra said.
“I thought that I was going to win, but as soon as I got a head in front she put the brakes on and I was lucky that she still had a bit of momentum to hold-off the horse on the inside.
“She won her maiden race and was ok up the straight the other day, but we always thought she had the ability.
“She is a much better chaser and she has done a great job.”
Formality lost no admirers with her second place finish, while Serena Bay was gallant in third.