Morphettville trainer Will Clarken has declared his smart filly Molto Bene ready to go for Wednesday week’s 2012 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield Racecourse even though she hasn’t won a race this time in.
The daughter of Royal Academy was undefeated as a two-year-old including her blistering three length victory in the Group 3 SA Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville Parks in April.
After a four and a half month spell she resumed making her Melbourne debut when a credible fifth to Members Joy in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) at Flemington when jumping from barrier 10 (of 15).
At her next start she was more competitive when only half a length away third behind winner Lady Of Harrods and beaten favourite Commanding Jewel in the Group 3 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m), Molto Bene again having to overcome a double digit draw (12 of 15).
While a number of her potential rivals have had recent lead-up runs, including in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1610m) at Flemington last Saturday where Maybe Discreet, Members Joy and Commanding Jewel ran the trifecta, Clarken has opted to send Molto Bene straight into the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) on October 17.
“The record of (her sire) Royal Academy fresh is a lot better than when they have a lot of racing,” Clarken said when explaining his decision to bypass the Edward Manifold.
A searching trial at Cranbourne this week has Clarken even more confident his decision to keep her fresh for the Guineas is the right one too, Molto Bene running a good second over 990m with her recent rider Craig Williams in the saddle.
“Craig was very happy with her and I was rapt with the way she pulled up – she was bouncing around straight afterwards so it wasn’t enough for her,” Clarken said.
“We gave her a good, strong hit-out because she’s three and a half weeks between runs, but all the signs are good.”
The Thousand Guineas will be her first look at the mile but Clarken believes she will step up in distance without issue.
“Everything is going as well as it can, so we’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed and hope there’s no setbacks between now and then,” he said.
“You don’t get these opportunities too often, hopefully we can make the most of it.
Earlier in the season Molto Bene topped the Thousand Guineas odds at the Aussie bookmakers.
She now occupies the second line of betting with the Bart Cummings-trained Norzita the new favourite after her impressive two and a half-length victory in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
While confident with his filly, Clarken does believe Norzita will be the one to beat after her Flight Stakes performance.
“This horse from Sydney is the one I can’t put a line through,” he said.
“She was super on Saturday but I know my filly is right in it.”
If everything goes to plan with the Thousand Guineas next week Clarken will keep Molto Bene in work and extend her grand final goal to be the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday November 3.
“It’ll be a pretty hard task but she gives herself every chance because she switches off in her racing,” he said.
“The Thousand Guineas is her grand final and everything else would be a bonus.”
2012 Thousand Guineas first acceptances are due to be taken tomorrow, October 11, and published right here at Races.com.au.
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