Cranbourne horseman Shea Eden is hoping a step up in class and wide draw won’t be enough to stop his promising filly Novel Dancer from retaining her undefeated status in the 2014 Quezette Stakes at Caulfield this weekend.
The daughter of Written Tycoon was a $50,000 buy from last year’s Magic Millions Yearling Sales on the Gold Coast and on Saturday takes on a black-type assignment for the first time in the $150,000 Group 3 Lister Quezette Stakes (1100m).
An $8 chance to win through Ladbrokes.com.au, she comes to the big city on the back of two ultra-slick runs having won her opening two starts by a combined 10 lengths.
Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival ambitions were on the agenda straight up after she lead all the way from the inside alley at Echuca on debut to post a six length victory over Lashkaal over 1109m back in early May.
At the end of the month she returned for another emphatic win achieved in the same fashion this time from the outside gate (10) to prove her versatility with a four length win over 1200m at Mornington.
Freshened-up since Novel Dancer makes her three-year-old debut in the Quezette Stakes where Vlad Duric, replacing Ibrahim Gundogdu, rides her for the first time with the pair drawn in barrier 10 of 12.
It’s a gate Eden is confident she can overcome again as Novel Dancer gets ready to strut her stuff at Group level.
While all the way wins have been her style so far, with the speed on she could get the chance to show her adaptability with an off the pace run not seen from the filly before.
“I know that she’s led her last two starts, but she’s a very easy going filly and if the pace is really strong she can back off that pace,” Eden told RSN’s Racing Ahead on Friday morning.
To help bring her up to race fitness again Eden gave Novel Dancer a look at the Caulfield track on Tuesday morning, a smart move he believes to get her accustomed to the notoriously tight circuit.
“I’m really glad that I did that, she really opened her eyes and had a good look around,” Eden said.
“She’s a very relaxed filly, but it was still good for her have the experience of a trip down.
“She’s going really well at the moment, we’re all really happy.”
Quezette Stakes betting markets are currently led at $2.90 by another undefeated filly, Mick Price saddling up the speedy Royal Snitzel in barrier six with two solid lead-up wins to her name.
Also under $10 to win are the rails-drawn Kalabek ($8.50) to be ridden by Damien Oliver and the resuming London Lolly ($5.50) who Eden believes will be setting the pace.
“London Lolly is drawn eight,” he said.
“I imagine it would roll forward and with our horse drawn in 10, we should be able to get a nice cart across from there.”
The only query then is how Novel Dancer will handle a firmer track given her two wins were both on a Slow (6).
“I’m not sure whether a wet track does work to her advantage,” Eden admitted.
“She has shown a liking to softer tracks.
“I’ve had her on heavy tracks before in her trackwork and she really gets through that.
“I suppose a firmer track will be interesting to see how she handles it, but I’ve no worries with it.”
The Quezette Stakes is a nice launching pad into the better three-year-old races of the spring including the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) back at the track on October 13 for which Novel Dancer is nominated.
She pays $26 in the futures Thousand Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, a price that will firm if she can win on Saturday.
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