Shamal Wind will head into the Group 1 2013 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 23 as one of the least experienced gallopers in the field.
The flying three-year-old had a sensational two-start debut campaign last spring and is due to make her return in the 55 Second Challenge Heat (955m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Provided the daughter of Dubawi gets through that unscathed, trainer Robert Smerdon will have no hesitations about throwing her into Group 1 company in the $400,000 Oakleigh Plate.
While Smerdon’s Group 1 intentions suggest he holds the filly in high regard, he has cautioned punters she won’t be at full fitness for Friday night’s hit-out.
Shamal Wind stormed on to the scene at Ballarat in October with a five-length debut win.
Smerdon recognised her obvious talent and quickly catapulted her into black-type racing in the Listed Heritage Stakes at Flemington in November where she showed an electric turn of foot to win by two lengths.
The Caulfield trainer is not looking too far into the future with the exciting prospect but has nominated her for the 2013 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
She is currently rated a $15 chance in the bookmaker.com.au pre-post Newmarket Handicap market.
Wonder mare Black Caviar is the current Newmarket favourite at $2.80 but is unlikely to line due to a likely big weight allocation.
Next best in Newmarket betting is Golden Slipper winner Pierro ($5) who was a comfortable trial winner at Rosehill this morning.
Others towards the top of Newmarket Handicap betting include unbeaten Perth star Barakey ($6) and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Moment Of Change ($10).
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