Established Sydney horseman Clarry Conners has been forced to rethink the autumn campaign of his sprinting mare Satin Shoes who is likely to target the Newmarket Handicap 2013 during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival as she looks to avoid a clash with the mighty Black Caviar.
Flying Spur four-year-old Satin Shoes was originally being considered for a first-up run in the recently renamed $700,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington Racecourse on February 16.
Over her 22 start career to date, which has produced five wins, Satin Shoes has been able to avoid a clash with unbeaten superstar Black Caviar – and Conners would ideally like to keep it that way this autumn which is why he has now ruled out the Lightning Stakes 2013.
Last spring Satin Shoes’ campaign started well with three top three finishes in Sydney including two Group 2 seconds but things went amiss when she went to Melbourne and could only manage to finish eighth behind Sea Siren in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in October.
She backed up a fortnight later at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day for another below par run when a distant 10th to Mental in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) after which she was sent out for a spell.
Satin Shoes showed she was on track for a successful return this week however blitzing her 800m Warwick Farm trial on Tuesday morning.
Finishing in a sharp 47.8 seconds Satin Shoes easily put 2.8 lengths on the David Vandyke-trained Choice Words in the hitout and Conners is now eager to get her back to racing.
With Black Caviar to resume racing in the Lightning Stakes the bulk of the season’s sprinters will be going instead to the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on February 23 at Caulfield, adding to Conners’ dilemma as Satin Shoes ran a horror 15th beating home just two other runners first-up in last year’s Oakleigh.
Still he believes that’s where she will kick off again with the race fitting nicely into a program heading towards the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9 where she would get in at a nice weight.
“No-one wants to take on the mare (Black Caviar) in the Lightning Stakes which means a full field for the Oakleigh Plate,” Conners said.
“Satin Shoes got knocked over in it last year but it would be a good lead-in to the Newmarket. That’s a beautiful race for her.”
The other option is to remain in Sydney and tackle a race like the $175,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Rosehill on March 30, but Conners is keen to head down south.
“If she stays in Sydney there’s really only the Challenge Stakes but that’s not until the middle of next month,” he said.
Winner of the Newmarket Handicap two years back, the world’s highest rated mare Black Caviar is currently dominating the futures markets at bookmaker.com.au for this year’s edition paying $2.80.
This is just the bookies taking zero chances on the wonder mare however as connections have made it very clear that Black Caviar’s days of handicap racing are over due to her tremendous rating.
Satin Shoes meanwhile is a genuine roughie in the Newmarket Handicap odds paying $101 to take down the champs including Gai Waterhouse’s crack colt Pierro and undefeated WA Speedster Barakey.
The Newmarket Handicap 2013 is also being considered for Conners’ $1.3 million earner Decision Time.
Runner-up to the ill-fated Crystal Lilly in the 2010 Golden Slipper, the Foreplay gelding has enjoyed eight wins from 15 starts but hasn’t raced since their poor effort when 12th to Temple Of Boom in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m).
The now five-year-old was also among Conners’ trial winners at the Farm on Tuesday morning posting an 800m win in 47.4 seconds.
“Decision Time is in the same situation (as Satin Shoes) so I’ll just have to go through the calendar,” Conners said.
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