Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield will be the starting point for Nigel Blackiston’s smart young filly Balaclava Lady this autumn as she heads towards a possible shot at the 2013 Australian Guineas.
The daughter of Charge Forward has had seven starts so far winning just once at Caulfield last September over 1400m but she’ll be given the chance to add another victory to her record when she goes first-up into the Kevin Hayes Stakes this weekend.
“She has spelled very nicely,” Blackiston said.
“I believe she has come back bigger and stronger.
“She has had two nice trials and we are very pleased with her heading into Saturday and are looking forward to getting her started.”
While she has crossed the line first just once the Flemington-based filly raced competitively in a number of other races last spring during the carnival once she learnt how to relax and race from behind.
“The only reason she was on the speed early on in her career was because she overraced and pulled very hard,” Blackiston told RSN.
“Michael Walker did a wonderful job in getting her to relax and enjoy her racing.”
After being outclassed when ninth to Commanding Jewel in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) she enjoyed two strong fourth place finishes beaten under two lengths in both the Group 2 Fillies Classic at Moonee Valley in October and the Listed Hybrid Plate on Melbourne Cup Day in November.
“When she switched off she hit the line very strong with a solid win at Caulfield but then unfortunately she got back and got buried in her last couple of starts and didn’t get a crack at them,” Blackiston said.
“She should have gone close to winning on cup day but hopefully with a bit more luck this preparation she can win a nice race.”
Blackiston is hoping she comes back well this season starting on Saturday before going through the Melbourne Festival of Racing fillies’ features with an eye on the $600,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at her home track on March 2.
While admitting the 2013 Australian Guineas was an ambitious aim that could be just outside of Balaclava Lady’s reach, Blackiston is confident she has a nice black type victory in her.
“She’ll have four or five starts this preparation so she isn’t 100% but she will run a nice race,” Blackiston said.
“Hopefully she can go through those three-year-old fillies’ races.
“We have thrown a nomination for the Guineas and her next two starts will give me an idea of whether we go that way.”
In the current Australian Guineas betting odds, which are led by Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard at $3.40 who runs in the $400,000 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) this Saturday, Balaclava Lady is a $101 roughie.
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