The $300,000 Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) has attracted a first rate field this year featuring five individual Group 1 winners among the 10 final acceptors.
Well down the markets for the Gold Coast feature at a quote of $21 is Shamardal mare Femina Fashion, a last-start winner at Doomben.
After failing to finish in the money in her three Listed assignments earlier in the year including her ninth place finish to Galizani in the Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on March 26, Femina Fashion relished the step up in distance and down in class when she won the LED Superscreens Handicap (2040m) at Doomben on April 16.
The convincing one length win gave Whittington the evidence he needed to give her a shot in a Group race for the first time.
To date Femina Fashion has had 25 career starts for six wins including her success in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) 12 months ago, but she faces her toughest test so far lining up in barrier eight for tomorrow’s Hollindale Stakes.
The Gold Coast Bracelet was the first of two starts Femina Fashion has had over the 1800m Hollindale distance.
She maintained her perfect record over 1800m when winning the $200,000 Strategic Airlines Stayers Cup (1800m) at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Race Day in January and so with a win at the track and distance under her belt has the right form.
“She’s a definite chance despite it being weight-for-age and the 1800 metres is her perfect distance,” Whittington said of Femina Fashion.
Whittington is hoping for improvement from Thursday’s Heavy (8) to a firmer rating for the Gold Coast track before Saturday’s race.
“I think the inside part of the track will be better and two off the fence might be the way to go as that’s where the best drainage is,” Whittington said.
Top Brisbane hoop Damian Browne has been booked to ride Femina Fashion in the Hollindale as Shane Scriven, aboard for her Doomben win, will partner Daniel Morton’s evergreen eight-year-old Scenic Shot in the race.
With the Hollindale being the mare’s first weight-for-age test, Whittington stated that Femina Fashion would likely hit the front early and if she can hold on will be right up there at the finish.
“She’s terrific and pulled up really well following her Doomben win,” he said.
“I expected her to win last time and it was a very good performance.
“I couldn’t be happier with her and she’s trained on well but she’s never been at weight-for-age.
“We’ll find out on Saturday how she’ll handle the weight scale (57kg) and it’s a high class field with the two imports (My Kingdom Of Fife and Glass Harmonium) in it.
“I watched a replay of Glass Harmonium winning his barrier trials at Hawkesbury and he looks an impressive type.”
Making their Australian race debut in the Hollindale, the Michael Moroney-trained Glass Harmonium is rated an $8.50 chance.
At the top of the odds is the Mick Price-trained five-year-old Heart Of Dreams paying $3.60.
Drawn ideally in barrier four, the Damien Oliver mount comes off a gallant last start third behind the hulking Hay List in the All Aged Stakes at Randwick and is on way the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) on May 21.
The other elite level winners taking their place in the Hollindale Stakes this year are the Chris Waller-trained Triple Honour ($11), second favourite behind Heart Of Dreams My Kingdom Of Fife ($4) who won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes last start, local superstar Shoot Out ($5) drawn ideally on the rails and WA veteran Scenic Shot ($7.50).
2011 A.D. Hollindale Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||436X757441||SCENIC SHOT||Daniel Morton||Shane Scriven||3||59kg||114|
|2||4230064X39||TRIPLE HONOUR (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||9||59kg||111|
|3||1333440X95||SHOOT OUT||John Wallace||Corey Brown||1||59kg||115|
|4||X327X72183||HEART OF DREAMS||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||4||59kg||115|
|5||0X662X3270||DAO DAO||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||5||59kg||108|
|6||X571744X62||OUR LUKAS (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Larry Cassidy||10||59kg||104|
|7||X753566X11||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||7||59kg||108|
|8||42X136X60X||GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Hugh Bowman||6||59kg||101|
|9||56400X9723||BUGSYTWOSHOES||David Kelly||Matthew Palmer||2||59kg||80|
|10||X080118691||FEMINA FASHION||Trevor Whittington||Damian Browne||8||57kg||99|