Trainer Richard Jolly has all but ruled out a start in the upcoming Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville for his locally-trained three-year-old Stirling Grove despite their impressive win at Flemington on the weekend.
Improving Mossman gelding Stirling Grove ($2.90F) held on in a determined display to score a narrow short-head win over the Robert Smerdon-trained Eclair Flyer ($8) in the $75,000 My Room Plate (1100m) at Flemington last Saturday.
Having also won the $125,000 Schweppes Tonic (1000m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day last spring, Saturday’s victory kept Stirling Grove’s perfect record down the iconic Victorian straight intact.
Prior to the My Room Plate, Stirling Grove was six lengths away sixth to Shrapnel in the Group 2 Yallambee Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on March 14 where he was blocked for a run.
“He’s got a really good record and didn’t have a lot of luck in the Yallambee,” Jolly said.
Originally Jolly had plans to target the $350,000 Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on Sunday May 8 with Stirling Grove at his home track, but has had a slight change of direction.
“He’s probably just off the top level but in the right Group Two or Three races he’s certainly capable of winning,” Jolly continued.
“He’s getting a bit hard to place now because he is getting up in the weights and while The Goodwood is tempting the set weight and penalty conditions don’t really suit him.
“He’s only going to get four kilos from a horse like Hay List.
“The weights tell you he couldn’t win a race like that.
“We might even freshen him up for the spring and bring him back here (to Flemington).”
Stirling Grove is from Desert Prince mare Kalamata and has now won six of his 12 starts for close to $375,000 in career prize money.
The horse that ran second to Stirling Grove at Flemington on Saturday, Eclair Flyer is now likely to back up in The Goodwood in three weeks time.
Robert Smerdon’s Ballarat-trained Flying Spur gelding Eclair Flyer has had just six career starts to date and did well to come within a nose of Stirling Grove in the My Room Plate.
Formerly trained by Greg Eurell, Eclair Flyer has been in the winner’s circle three times and Smerdon is not ruling out a clash with their more established stablemate the stakes winning Eclair Mystic in The Goodwood.
A son of Stratum, Eclair Mystic won the Listed Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in January before coming third to Dusty Star in the Group 2 D’Urban Stakes (1400m) on February 12.
At his most recent run the gelding ran a disappointing last to Stirling Grove in the Premier Signs Plate (1200m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day giving Smerdon a lot to consider before confirming a run in The Goodwood.
“He’s had a little freshen up and is a possibility as well for the Goodwood but I don’t know whether to go on with him (Eclair Mystic) at the moment,” Smerdon said.