Due to a bit of bad luck, five-year-old mare Spinderbella has been scratched from her last two starts but trainer Robert Smerdon is confident he can get her campaign back on track in a benchmark 96 over 2040m at Moonee Valley this Saturday.
The Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day is the trainer’s long-term target for Spinderbella, so the mare will need to start progressing in distance soon. A run at Werribee next month over 2600m should act as a stepping stone to the 2015 Bagot Handicap.
“I think she’s a fairly natural stayer and I think she’s a mare that will have no trouble running over a lot further,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria.
However before then the mare must succeed at Moonee Valley this Saturday in the Sportingbet Powered by William Hill Handicap (2046m).
Spinderbella has finished in the first three in all four of her starts this campaign, including winning the LF Sign Group Handicap (2040m).
Her preparation came to a halt when she was scratched from the Group 2 Momentum Energy Stakes (2000m) due to a firm track before getting scratched late once again in the $200,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) last weekend after Smerdon failed to notify hoop Chad Schofield of her “idiosyncrasies”.
Smerdon admits there is a fitness concern for the mare, who hasn’t been seen since October 24, after missing the two runs but she is otherwise in great order.
“It’s an issue but she’s a light framed mare and she’s pretty clean-winded so I’m hoping that what she’d done previously has her fit enough but it’s not ideal because she’s now five weeks between runs,” he said.
“We pulled her out of the firm track at Flemington because she feels her knees a bit and last week it was just because I hadn’t alerted Chad Schofield to the fact that she doesn’t have the gait of a normal horse but if I had of forewarned him that might not have happened.
“She’s still completed all of her routine work and we’ve had no issues with her there.”
The trainer is confident Spinderbella will be a strong competitor in the race, even though she’s drawn wide in barrier 16.
“She’ll come into barrier 13 if the emergencies come out and she does tend to get back in her races anyway,” he said.
“It probably means that she’ll end up near last which probably isn’t ideal but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt and I still think she can be very competitive here.”
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