Caulfield’s Robert Smerdon is looking at the CS Hayes Stakes 2015 as the first-up run for his dual Group winning filly Fontein Ruby who could target the Australian Guineas this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Three-year-old Fontein Ruby was one of two daughters of Turffontein on show for Smerdon at Tuesday morning’s Sportingbet Park jump-outs along with the current 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au Fontiton.
A dual Group winner after victories in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) back in October, Fontein Ruby’s latest effort was a disappointing 12th when failing to beat home any other runner after dropping right out in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 6.
Fontein Ruby was beaten over 11 lengths by the Ciaron Maher-trained winner Set Square, who came off back-to-back Melbourne wins in October, in the Melbourne Cup Carnival clash where she failed to settle or see out the distance.
She’s likely to be kept to 2000m and under this autumn then with Smerdon looking to run her first-up in the $150,000 Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on February 21, Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Day.
“We’ve got a bit more time up the sleeve with her, she isn’t as forward,” he told TVN.
“The Australian Guineas could be an early target for her and then we will see if she progresses to Sydney.”
The $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) runs back at Flemington on March 7 and has been named as an early Melbourne Festival of Racing goal for a host of three-year-olds including the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win, undefeated filly Wawail, Bondeiger for last year’s winning trainer Danny O’Brien and Sunday’s Tasmanian Guineas champ Admiral.
Fontein Ruby has to date won four of her 12 starts for $747,870 in prize money.
The Crown Oaks was her maiden Group 1 run but Smerdon is confident she’s up to the class this season over less distance.
At Flemington she boasts two wins from four starts at the track.
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