Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse has no concerns that her talented Not A Single Doubt colt Squamosa won’t make an excellent return to the track when the Group 1 placegetter resumes at Randwick on Saturday.
Squamosa was one of top two-year-olds last season, winning their opening three starts including the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1300m) in easy fashion.
At their latest start, the colt lined up for their first Group 1 assignment in last August’s $1 million Golden Rose (1400m).
After jumping from a horror barrier 14, Squamosa showed true grit to come within a half-head of winner Toorak Toff.
Following the Golden Rose run, Squamosa was sent to the paddock for a lengthy spell.
A setback to the colt’s preparation saw them miss the $1 million Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast in January and Squamosa was also out for the entire Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnivals.
Waterhouse gave her promising galloper two barrier trials in November and December last year, Squamosa winning both over 800m and 1050m respectively.
Now Squamosa will make their highly-anticipated return this Saturday at Royal Randwick in the $100,000 Listed June Stakes (1100m).
Originally Waterhouse was hopeful the young colt would be fit in time to tackle Group 1 glory in Brisbane including the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), which runs at Eagle Farm this Saturday.
However, Squamosa took longer than anticipated to recoup and a Group race target must now wait until the spring.
“Squamosa is running in the June Stakes and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Waterhouse said.
“Squamosa took a long time to get fit but I’m over the moon with him.
“There’s a couple of nice Listed races in the next few weeks and then he’ll have a short break and come back for the Melbourne Spring Carnival.”
Jockey Jim Cassidy has been booked to ride Squamosa for his much-awaited return.
Squamosa is the only horse of his age left in contention for the June Stakes this weekend after the news that Canberra trainer Matthew Dale would not be accepting fellow Not A Single Doubt three-year-old Unanimously for the feature.
“I’ll be taking him to Melbourne for a three-year-old race which is set-weights with penalties (the $125,000 Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes over 1200m at Flemington),” Dale said of Unanimously.
“With him, I’ve taken the view he has plenty of time to take on the older horses.”
There were 17 early entries for the June Stakes this year, Waterhouse also nominating five-year-old Flying Spur mare Montana Flyer.
Montana Flyer, who last ran seventh to Sworn To Secrecy in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 23, is heading towards a start in the final Group 1 feature of the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival – the $500,000 Winter Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 25.
“I’ll also have Montana Flyer (in the June Stakes) and she will then head up to Brisbane for the fillies and mares race on the 25th, the Winter Stakes,” Waterhouse said.
Other notable horses heading towards the Randwick feature include the Sue Grills-trained galloper Border Rebel coming off a game fourth to Beaded in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28, Joseph Pride’s well-performing Arena mare Ladys Angel and the Peter Snowden-trained Lonhro five-year-old Pinwheel who most recently ran third to Lone Rock in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 8.
The June Stakes has proved the hunting ground of some true turf stars, including last year’s edition that saw subsequent Group 1 runner-up Love Conquers All defeat boom galloper Hay List in a thrilling two-horse finish.
The Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained Mossman four-year-old Love Conquers all is the second favourite to win this Saturday’s premier showdown, the Stradbroke Handicap.
Last start the sprinter-miler came within a nose of classy mare Beaded in the Doomben 10,000 and the pair will clash again at Eagle Farm in the Stradbroke.