Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison are looking at the feature Group 1 sprints this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival for dual Group 3 winner Eloping following a nice trial at Cranbourne on Thursday morning.
The three-year-old Choisir filly stepped out in the third hit-out of the morning, the New Zealand Bloodstock 3YO & Up Trial run over 800m and won by the Doug Harrison-trained five-year-old gelding Falcent.
Just a half-length away second was then Eloping, ridden by Stephen Baster, in her first official trial of the New Year.
“She looks like she has come back in good order,” co-trainer Morgan told TVN after Eloping trialled without her usual winkers on.
Winner of Group 3 Champagne Stakes (1200m) and lucrative Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne during the spring, the filly also ran sixth to Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) last November.
Her latest run was also at Flemington just five days after the Coolmore when a close second behind Onemorezeta in the Group 3 Gucci Stakes (1100m) to see out her spring campaign.
After her smart trial today her trainers are now tossing up whether to run her first-up in Sydney or Melbourne, the latter the preferred path at this stage.
If she goes to Sydney first it will be in the $175,000 Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 14.
The other option, which Morgan & Widdison are currently leaning towards, is on the same day but at Caulfield’s CF Orr Stakes Day in the $150,000 Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).
The Kevin Hayes Stakes is also the likely first-up assignment for another top trial runner at Cranbourne on Thursday, the Robert Smerdon-trained Fontein Ruby who won the opener by one and a quarter lengths.
Looking further ahead Eloping is set for a big Melbourne Festival of Racing when stepped back up to Group 1 company.
Her options at elite level this time in include the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 28, and also the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Super Saturday a fortnight later.
This week Racing Victoria took nominations for the 2015 Newmarket Handicap, Eloping one of 19 three-year-olds nominated along with Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Brazen Beau and Sistonic who is a close relation to superstar mare Black Caviar who won the race in 2011.
Futures Newmarket Handicap 2015 betting markets are set to open shortly online at Ladbrokes.com.au making now the time to sign-up with the country’s leading online bookie who will match your first deposit up to $250 when you use the code BETBONUS this season.