James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Early Blue Diamond Stakes 2015 favourite Fontiton has impressed her trainer Robert Smerdon with a nice jumpout at Sportingbet Park this week ahead of her autumn return.
The unbeaten Turffontein filly caught the eye with a smart 800m hit-out on Tuesday morning with Mark Zahra in the saddle.
An impressive six length winner on debut, she cruised along well at the start of the run before her race jockey Zahra eased her down the final furlong for her third place finish.
Fontiton won her first official trial at Cranbourne on October 20 with Zahra aboard to win over 800m in a one of the top two-year-old lead-ups of the season before her explosive debut in the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, October 25.
She hasn’t raced since that fantastic win but is gearing up for her next start that will likely be in the $100,000 Listed Blue Diamond Fillies Preview (1000m) at Sandown on Australia Day, January 26.
“She will have a solid hit-out with a mate next Tuesday at Caulfield and then we will decide from there but the Preview fits in well with our plans,” Smerdon told TVN today.
“I’d say she could still be a bit underdone for the Preview, we have a few targets in mind, it isn’t her grand final so there will be more up the sleeve.”
Smerdon was thrilled with her jump-out this week, after opting not to give her a proper trial, and is eager to see her come back and head towards the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 28.
“I could have trialled her today but I just wasn’t sure how far forward she was, that is why I just gave her the jump-out and told Mark to let her stride 600m and then let her ease down,” he said.
“She was still going quite strong towards the end of the gallop, which is a good sign.”
In the futures Blue Diamond Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au Fontiton is the $4.80 favourite ahead of Mick Price’s Moonee Valley winner on debut Secret Agenda ($5) and the John O’Shea-trained Ottoman ($7.50) who also won his maiden race but at Rosehill on December 20.
Possible 2015 Australian Guineas-bound Fontein Ruby, another daughter of Turffontein, also ran at Sandown Park on Tuesday morning for the stable.
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