Warwick Farm’s Gary Nickson is confident his filly Alpha Miss can cause a stir at Randwick with a win in Saturday’s Silver Shadow Stakes 2014 if the hot favourite Earthquake scratches out before jump time.
One of five Group features on the Warwick Stakes Day program on the weekend, the $175,000 Group 2 Coolmore Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) drew nine three-year-old fillies at final acceptance stage on Wednesday.
Dominant $1.90 favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au in the Silver Shadow Stakes odds is the John O’Shea-trained Earthquake, Godolphin’s Exceed And Excel filly to race for the first time since her Golden Slipper loss on April 5.
Coming off four consecutive wins including the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne, Earthquake ran second to Mossfun in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper when having her first run on anything other than a Good (3) rated track.
Rosehill was in the Heavy range on Slipper Day and O’Shea has confirmed connections would scratch Earthquake from this weekend’s Silver Shadow Stakes if the Randwick track didn’t firm in from the Heavy range.
With news all week of Earthquake’s likely withdrawal the confidence of Nickson skyrocketed and he made the decision to accept for his Lucky Owners filly Alpha Miss.
“We were thinking of going to the Warwick Farm trials next Friday and then first-up into the Furious Stakes,” Nickson told The Daily Telegraph, referring to the $175,000 Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on September 6.
“But after hearing that Earthquake might come out, and the fact Alpha Miss has performed on a wet track before, we decided to leave her in and see how we go.’’
Drawn in barrier four with Jason Collett to ride she pays $13 in the latest Silver Shadow Stakes markets following a trial win at Rosehill over 1030m on August 4.
A winner of three of her six starts so far, Alpha Miss was a $6,000 bargain buy as a weanling and has already amassed over $240,000 in prizemoney.
Her latest victory was in the Listed Lonhro Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm where she defeated Earthquake’s stablemate Memorial on a Slow (7) track.
Memorial is also running in the Silver Shadow Stakes as a $7 chance, one of only three at single figures along with Earthquake and Peter Moody’s Group 2 winner in the mud Bring Me The Maid ($3.60) which ran third in the Golden Slipper last time out.
Alpha Miss also ran in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds when a disappointing 14th to Mossfun on the back of a third to the reversed Golden Slipper quinella in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m).
Nickson doesn’t blame the Heavy (8) course in the Group 1 run for Alpha Miss’s loss and believes her a genuine chance on a rain-affected track on Saturday.
She worked well at Warwick Farm late last week to help bring her up to race fitness and Nickson is happy with her condition.
“Although she has only had the one trial, she is not a big, robust filly,” he said.
“We are really pleased with her and I’d say she is 99 per cent certain to run unless the weather turns ugly again and the track is really heavy.”
Back your favourites to win Saturday’s spring carnival lead-ups, including the Silver Shadow Stakes for Thousand Guineas-bound fillies, head to Ladbrokes.com.au and get Best Tote or SP on all the Randwick races!