After having her first-up efforts hampered by known barrier rogue Here De Angles last Saturday at Caulfield, Karuta Queen will look to atone this weekend having been nominated for the Light Fingers Stakes 2012 at Warwick Farm.
One of three Group race highlights of the Sydney racing action this Saturday, the $175,000 Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) drew 20 three-year-old fillies at nomination stage on Monday.
One of the top-rated early entries is Neville Layt’s Canberra queen Karuta Queen who did well to finish fourth to Eagle Falls in the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) in Melbourne last Saturday after Here De Angles played up in the barriers and ruined her jump.
It was the first time in Karuta Queen’s 13-start career to date where she missed the start, and Layt was relieved after a vet inspection on Monday showed she hadn’t suffered any physical injury.
“The vet’s just been over and she was a hundred per cent,” he said this morning.
“She’s off to Sydney on Saturday for sure.
“I don’t have to do anything with her all week, all I have to do is just keep ticking her over.”
Layt said that although this would be the first time he gave Karuta Queen a short seven-day back-up, he believed she had the class to overcome that and prove she was better than her unlucky run in the Rubiton.
“I’m in unknown territory again,” he said.
“She seems up to the bar.
“I’ve never done it before – she might turn around and love it.
“The closes she had to backing up was 10 days and she did run a good second that day (to African Pulse at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day).
“She was just lost and at the end of her tether.”
Layt, who was originally eyeing off Group 1 glory in the $350,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on the 25th, is hoping for a better result in the 2012 Light Fingers Stakes to help confirm their autumn plans.
“Everyone tried to talk me into staying in Melbourne and racing in the Oakleigh because they thought her run was absolutely spot on,” he said.
“No luck in running whatsoever and she did a mighty job to finish where she did, and fight out for third and fourth.
“She’s never been behind a horse in her life.
“She got a bump on the turn and she handled that.
“She was entitled to drop off and run sixth, seventh but she didn’t.
“Her run was to say she’s back as good as ever.”
Plans even further ahead could then include a return trip to Sydney for the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 14, so long as there was no ‘Black Flash’.
“If Black Caviar’s not there, I will be,” he said.
It is a star-studded list of hopefuls for the Light Fingers this season with other headline nominees including John Thompson’s Group 2 winner Pane In The Glass, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Starcraft filly Hallowell Belle, last-start Magic Millions Sprint victor Schiffer and Streama.
The Guy Walter-trained Streama made a name for herself last spring winning three Group races on the trot in Sydney culminating with a huge six and a half length triumph over Hallowell Belle in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 1.
Walter has his fingers-crossed that she can kick-start another strong season on Saturday despite the lengthy spell and the distance being just short of her best.
“Streama will be better once she gets up to 1400 metres but I’m pleased with her and expect her to go well first-up,” he said.
“Hugh Bowman will ride.”
Streama, and many of her Light Fingers Stakes rivals, are heading towards bigger targets including the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24 and the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 21.
She currently sits on the third line of futures Doncaster Mile 2012 betting at Luxbet paying $13 and trailing only Thousand Guineas winner Atlantic Jewel ($6) and Golden Rose hero Manawanui ($9).
The Ron Leemon-trained Manawanui is also set to resume racing at the Farm on Saturday when the run in a very strong edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m).
The full Caulfield & Warwick Farm race fields for this weekend are due for release on Wednesday and Races.com.au will be the first to publish the acceptances and previews.
Get ready for the continued action of the Melbourne and Sydney Autumn Carnivals by opening your online betting account with Luxbet today and don’t forget to quote the code BONUSBET when you make your first deposited to have it matched dollar for dollar up to $400 as a bonus bet!
2012 Light Fingers Stakes Nominations & Weights
Warwick Farm – 18/02/2012
|1||AL’S MAGIC MISS||David Payne||7||56kg||85|
|3||BLUE RUBY||Clarry Conners||17||56kg||66|
|4||BY THE BY||Garry White||18||56kg||65|
|5||COLORADO CLAIRE||John O’Shea||13||56kg||70|
|7||EMERALD DOWNS||Anthony Cummings||9||56kg||76|
|10||HALLOWELL BELLE||Gai Waterhouse||4||56kg||92|
|11||KARUTA QUEEN||Neville Layt||1||56kg||100|
|12||KNEELING||John P Thompson||12||56kg||81|
|13||MISS SPOKEN||Gary Portelli||14||56kg||70|
|15||PANE IN THE GLASS||John P Thompson||2||56kg||94|
|17||ROSE PATTERN||David Hayes||20||56kg||65|
|19||SEA SIREN||John O’Shea||15||56kg||71|