The 2013 Coolmore Classic and Queen Of The Turf Stakes have been named as possible autumn targets for Matthew Smith’s talented mare Cabernet who races in the 2012 Villiers Stakes in Sydney this weekend.
The Al Maher six-year-old was one of 21 early entries for this year’s edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) which will run at Smith’s home track at Warwick Farm due to the track upgrade currently happening at Royal Randwick.
Cabernet has had a light spring campaign, her first for Smith following a stable transfer from Grahame Begg, but has caught the eye a number of times.
Second-up she ran a brave second to Koonoomoo in the Group 3 Herald Sun Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day before backing up 11 days later to win the Listed Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown.
Last start she went up against the boys after three mares-only assignments and was far from disgraced when beaten just over a length finishing fifth to Malavio, currently out in the paddock due to an arthritic knee, in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
She goes up to the mile for the first time since her second to Fibrillation in the Listed Aspiration Quality back in March when prepared by Begg on Saturday and Smith believes she will be competitive over the distance with Hugh Bowman booked for the ride.
Smith is also eyeing the riches of the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with Cabernet naming the fillies and mares $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 23 and the $400,000 Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes at the same track and distance on April 6 – Golden Slipper Day – as two major races for her in the new year.
“Cabernet is in good shape and I thought her last run was good,” Smith said.
“This will be her last run of the campaign and we will look to the major mares races for her in the autumn.
“I think she’s good enough for races like the Coolmore Classic and the Queen of the Turf.”
Cabernet ran in last year’s Queen Of The Turf Stakes but could only manage to finish four lengths away sixth to superstar More Joyous, Smith hoping she can improve on that next time.
Smith will also be represented in the other stakes race on the Villiers Stakes Day program with Hussonet mare Slow The Flow, fourth to Secret Admirer as a three-year-old in the Coolmore Flight Stakes in October of 2010, running in the $100,000 Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m).
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