Smart As You Think will have to dig deep to produce a winning run at Morphettville Racecourse on Saturday with the John McArdle-trained filly drawn out wide for her Australasian Oaks lead-up.
A nicely-bred daughter of dual Cox Plate champion So You Think, Smart As You Think is one of a capacity 20 three-year-old fillies set to face off in the $120,000 Schweppervescence Auraria Stakes (1800m) in Adelaide on the weekend.
The set weights plus penalties clash is a traditional Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival lead-up into the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks (2000m) back at the track on May 6.
Based out of Mornington in Victoria, Smart As You Think travels to South Australia for the second time on Saturday racing at the track for the first time since her second to Silvera in the Listed Morphettville Guineas (1600m) in September last year.
Since then she has enjoyed just the one career win at Moonee Valley during the spring over 2020m, which she followed up with a Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) sixth behind all-the-way winner Lasqueti Spirit at Flemington.
This time in McArdle has given his filly three autumn runs, the latest of which saw her finish a mid-field seventh behind Montoya’s Secret in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on a Heavy (9) Rosehill track in late March.
Smart As You Think was a $31 roughie in the Sydney Group 1, where she suffered an interfered run and minor injuries that saw her miss out on a shot in the ATC Oaks (2400m).
“We were probably a week off being able to be ready for the AJC Oaks, which was our aim the whole way along,” McArdle told Racing Victoria.
“We were able to get her back and she just went to Fulman Park and had a quiet week and then had a week on the water walker. With having those couple of weeks without having a lot of work, she seems to have come right.
“Jamie Mott galloped her on Tuesday morning and he was very, very happy with her gallop.”
Having made a good recovery, Smart As You Think is currently installed at $12 Auraria Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
There has been a tickle of money come in for the Victorian visitor, who jockey Jason Benbow jumps aboard for the first time, despite her nasty alley.
Originally drawn in gate 22, Smart As You Think will jump from barrier 19 of 20 on Saturday in the Group 3.
McArdle said while he would love to see the filly get back to winning form, she would not be given a gut-buster from the wide draw with the focus firmly on having her fit for the Australasian Oaks bid next month.
“We won’t be going out there to try and jump and get up on the speed,” he said.
“That’s never been her go, she’s always been midfield or worse in her races.
“That will be the plan on Saturday, having her hit the line hard. She’s already qualified for the Oaks, so it’s more about her getting her there in the right shape for two weeks’ time.
“Obviously we want to win, but [barrier] 22 might make that difficult.”
Kenedna is the firm favourite in Auraria Stakes betting this year, the Darren Weir-trained Not A Single Doubt filly having won two of her past three starts.
In February she posted a Group 3 win in The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington, followed by a third behind Group 1 winner I Am A Star back at the track on ‘Super Saturday’ in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m).
Kenedna was last seen posting a black-type win in her Morphettville debut on April 8 over the mile in the Laelia Stakes.
Second and third past the post respectively in that same Adelaide lead-up, With A Bit Of Dash ($14) and Peninsula Links ($17) also back-up in the Auraria Stakes on Saturday.