Trainer Rex Lipp is confident that Tinto can be more than competitive when she returns to racing in the 2014 Travel Associates Classic at Doomben on Saturday.
Tinto has not been seen at the races since she was sent to the spelling paddock at the end of her 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign, which was highlighted by a tough win in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), but indicated that she was ready for a return to racing when she worked home strongly to finish third in a barrier trial over 925 metres at Toowoomba on November 11.
Lipp told Racing Ahead this morning that he was very impressed with the barrier trial performance of Tinto and he believes that the Red Dazzler mare will be competitive in the Travel Associates Classic, but feels there needs to be plenty of early pace in the race for her to be a winning chance.
“I was very pleased with the trial,” Lipp said.
“I asked the rider to make sure that she didn’t knock herself coming around the corner and I said just sit on her and keep her balanced up until the straight and just let her run home.
“She exploded down the short straight and I was very pleased with it.
“If it was Eagle Farm I would say very competitive, but just being Doomben it might be a little bit of a worry.
“It is a short straight and we are going to have to ride her back.
“We will be dumping her out, letting her settle and looking at her to run home.
“If there is a lot of pace in the race she will certainly be competitive over the last 100 metres that is for sure.”
The Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) was highlighted as a potential 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Tinto after her Queensland Oaks victory, but connections elected to give the spring with the four-year-old in order to give her a lengthy stint in the spelling paddock.
Lipp said that he was happy with his decision to give Tinto a break from racing because of the long campaign that she had last year and he revealed that the condition of the talented mare has improved significantly during her time in the paddock.
“She never had a lot of time off before the Oaks preparation, I think she only had a fortnight for a freshen up because time didn’t allow us to give her any longer,” Lipp said.
“She had two long preparations, so we decided to give her a long spell.
“We thought about going to Melbourne, but that was only brief sort of thinking because we wouldn’t have been able to give her long and she would have been backing up again.
“If you keep going with her we might have missed the autumn carnival and the winter carnival.
“We opted to go this way and hopefully we can get some nice races into her between now and then.
“I haven’t weighed her, but I would say that she is probably 20 or 30 kilograms heavier.
“She probably hasn’t grown a lot, but she has thickened up and gotten much stronger over the hind quarters and the shoulders then she was last time.”
Tinto is set to head towards the $200,000 Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 10 and will likely be sent to Sydney for an autumn campaign before returning to Queensland for races like the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) in the winter.