While markets for this Saturday’s Tattersall’s Tiara are likely to be lead by Peter Snowden’s Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded, rival Sydney trainer Matthew Smith is confident his progressive mare Hurtle Myrtle can step up to elite company and give the favourite a run for her money.
“She’s a good mare and I’m expecting her to run a big race against Beaded in the Winter Stakes,” Hurtle Myrtle’s trainer Smith stated this week.
The final Group 1 race of the season, the $500,000 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m), formerly known as the Winter Stakes, runs at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm racecourse this Saturday and one of top-rated females among the early entries for the feature is Dane Shadow four-year-old Hurtle Myrtle.
A winner of three of her 15 career starts to date, Hurtle Myrtle has been a consistent force this preparation.
A multiple Group placegetter, Hurtle Myrtle recorded a tidy win in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 9 before finishing less than two lengths away fifth to Shannara in the Listed Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone the following month.
At her last start Hurtle Myrtle was back in the winner’s stall with a brave victory ahead of fellow Tatt’s Tiara rival Zero Rock in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 4.
The class of Hurtle Myrtle was further proven when the mare she beat home in the Dane Ripper, the Kelso Wood-trained Zero Rock, went on to run third behind runaway winner Sincero and brave runner-up Beaded in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 11.
While Zero Rock and Beaded have had one extra run this prep, Smith believes that keeping Hurtle Myrtle fresh and giving her longer between runs will be the key to her success on Saturday.
Smith knows that Lonhro mare Beaded will be hard to beat in the Tattersall’s Tiara this weekend, but holds high hopes that Hurtle Myrtle can prove her potential and claim an upset in turn earning herself a shot at more Group glory during the upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“Beaded is obviously the benchmark in the Winter Stakes,” Smith said.
“I can’t think of any better mare currently racing in Australia than her.
“We’ve never met Beaded before but Zero Rock’s performance in the Stradbroke gives me some idea how I think Hurtle Myrtle will go in the Winter Stakes.
“But Beaded is an outstanding mare and she never puts in a bad race.”
Saturday will be her third test at Group 1 level, Hurtle Myrtle having ran a game third behind Gai Waterhouse’s glamour mare More Joyous in the 2009 Flight Stakes at Randwick and fifth to Alverta in the 2010 Coolmore Classic.
Before her Group 1 third in the Coolmore at Rosehill last year, Hurtle Myrtle managed to come within a neck of More Joyous when second in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) showing Smith she had the ability to mix it with the best.
“She ran a good second to More Joyous then was beaten in the Coolmore Classic,” Smith said.
“Unfortunately, she had a few issues with a lung infection and lameness so I gave her a long spell after the Surround Stakes.
“She’s over the lung infection and lameness problems she had and I couldn’t be happier with the way she’s going right now.”
Following the Tattersall’s Tiara, Smith plans to give Hurtle Myrtle a quick break before bringing her back for a stint at the spring riches in Victoria with the hopes of adding a few extra Group wins to her record before connections consider her for a career as a broodmare.
“She’ll be racing on again next season and if she goes well in the Winter Stakes I’ll look at taking her to Melbourne in the spring,” Smith confirmed.
Hurtle Myrtle’s main spring aim is likely to be the fillies and mares weight-for-age feature, the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday October 29.