Group 1 winner Invest is the biggest and strongest she’s ever been heading into her first-up test in the Listed 2013 John Dillion Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Heath Conners-trained mare was a standout as a three-year-old but failed to fire in four starts against the older horses at the Spring Carnival.
Rather than be disappointed with the spring, Conners believes the hit-outs have helped condition her into better horse and is positive about her chances this autumn.
“Those three or four runs last prep probably did her the world of good,” Conners told Sky Radio.
“She’s come back a real mare now, she’s a lot bigger, a lot stronger and a lot more settled as well.
“Peter Mertens came and trialled her last week and he said she’s the biggest and strongest he’s ever seen.”
The opinion of Mertens is not one to be taken lightly as he has ridden Invest in her past 10 starts including to victory in both the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks at Morphetville and the Group 3 Roses in Queensland last winter.
While Conners admits the 1400m could be a bit short this weekend, he expects the Dehere mare to run a strong race and be “cherry ripe” for the 2013 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield in two weeks time.
“She’s drawn lovely. I think they’ll probably be a little bit sharp for her but I think she’ll run a cracker,” he said.
The Geelong trainer will wait and see how the four-year-old performs in her first two starts before deciding the rest of her program but has nominated her for the Group 1 2013 Australian Cup and is optimistic about her autumn prospects.
“She’s nominated for the Australian Cup, we’re aiming high with her and if she shows a bit of the quality she did the campaign before she’ll be right up there,” Conners said.
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