Successful Sydney trainer Clarry Conners is hoping an awkward barrier draw for his smart filly Satin Shoes in Saturday’s HDF McNeil Stakes 2011 at Caulfield won’t stop her from keeping her flawless record as a three-year-old intact.
The daughter of Flying Spur, winner of the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) as a juvenile, bounced back from her ninth to top colt Sepoy in the Golden Slipper last season by winning the Listed Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 13 in her new season debut.
Satin Shoes is set to return to Caulfield this weekend where she is engaged to take on a classy field of fellow three-year-olds in the $125,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m).
There were 12 acceptors for the McNeil Stakes final field this year, Satin Shoes suffering an early blow drawing wide with gate 11.
She will have to be at her absolute best to not only overcome her horror barrier draw, but also to beat the open field of promising gallopers.
Conners remains convinced Satin Shoes can develop into a Group 1 horse and was extremely satisfied with the way she worked between races at Geelong on Tuesday.
For her final hit-up leading up to Saturday’s showdown, Satin Shoes was ridden by Michael Rodd who rode her over 1000 metres.
In an explosive finish, Satin Shoes completed the last 400 metres of her solo workout in a sizzling 22.4 seconds and Conners hopes she can produce the same speed on Saturday.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way she is going,” he said.
“She looked good and she got to the line pretty confidently I thought.
“She is so strong-willed and determined and that’s probably what makes her a good racehorse,” Conners said.
“She has got a few tricks and it is so good that he (Rodd) has got to know her a big better.”
Rodd, who was also aboard for Satin Shoe’s Quezette Stakes success, retains the ride on Saturday and was also impressed with the filly’s work on Tuesday and her ability to quicken.
“She worked enormous,” he said.
“She just cruises at a real good temp and when I gave her a little heel up she just kept stretching her head out.
“When you can notice them quicken up like that you know it is a good horse.
“They lower their action and take off.
“I’m really happy going into Saturday.”
Conners is looking to see Satin Shoes, who he described as a bit of “a naughty girl”, show good early form this spring as she heads towards her main goal – the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, October 29.
The Coolmore, however, could be taken off the agenda if Peter Snowden’s dual Group 1 winner Sepoy goes there.
Other top HDF McNeil Stakes hopefuls include the Peter Moody-trained duo of Golden Archer, who comes off a second to Sepoy in the Listed Vain Stakes (1100m) at the track on August 13, and Quezette Stakes runner-up Metonymy; Peter Snowden’s improving Redoute’s Choice filly Glissade; and the highly-spruiked Bart Cummings-trained Starcraft colt Do You Think drawn ideally in gate three.
Do You Think is heading towards a start in one of the Melbourne Spring Carnival’s premier races for three-year-olds, the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8.
In the latest 2011 Caulfield Guineas odds at Luxbet Do You Think is rated a $21 chance.
Nearly all of the HDF McNeil Stakes acceptors are hoping to go all the way to the Guineas this spring including the Danny O’Brien-trained Decircles paying $26 in the Caulfield Guineas betting markets at Luxbet.
After breaking their maiden status in a commanding four and a half length victory over Peter Moody’s $1.87 million purchase Godspeed at Seymour over 1209m at the start of the month, Encosta De Lago colt Decircles will back up in the McNeil Stakes on Saturday.
O’Brien, who also prepares one of the top fancies for the 2011 Melbourne Cup in Shamrocker, is hoping to see Decircles step up to stakes company again and run something like they did when second to Running Tall in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington back in March.
“He’s a nice horse on the way up so we’ll get to see right where he is on Saturday,” O’Brien said.
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2011 HDF McNeil Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp.Rtg.|
|1||1131114X2||GOLDEN ARCHER||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||10||57.5kg||92|
|2||41X70X6||ARCTIC COMMAND||Wendy Kelly||Danny Nikolic||4||57.5kg||72|
|3||118X||DO YOU THINK||Bart Cummings||Steven Arnold||3||57kg||82|
|4||1X1129X1||SATIN SHOES||Clarry Conners||Michael Rodd||11||56kg||97|
|5||2X1368X4||DELAGO’S LAD||John McArdle||Chris Symons||6||55kg||74|
|6||3172X7||REDANGELO||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damien Oliver||1||55kg||74|
|7||762X1||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||Dwayne Dunn||8||55kg||72|
|8||88X25X5||VATICAN||Byron Cozamanis||Craig Williams||2||55kg||68|
|9||636X3||SCELTO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||–||12||55kg||61|
|10||1||CROSS OF GOLD||David Hayes||James Winks||9||55kg||64|
|11||21X442X2||METONYMY||Peter G Moody||Michael Walker||7||53kg||82|
|12||122X4||GLISSADE||Peter Snowden||Craig Newitt||5||53kg||77|