James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Two-year-old Fontiton impressed trainer Robert Smerdon so much in a barrier trial at Caulfield on Tuesday morning that the trainer has given his first indication that he’s keen to attempt the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double with the filly.
After winning the Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) for fillies at Sandown on January 26, Smerdon wanted to give Fontiton a quiet gallop on the course proper at Caulfield ahead of the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) next Saturday.
“The only way we could use the course proper this morning was to trial so we did that and gave her a nice quiet trial as well,” the trainer explained to TVN.
The filly sat right back off the pace before charging home late to finish about a neck behind winner Stylish Assassin.
Fontiton impressively won her debut back in October by six lengths and proved she still had what it takes to win against tougher competition in the Blue Diamond Preview last week. The filly copped a check soon after the start and eased out to three wide on straightening. It took her the entire length of the straight to run the second horse down but she got there in the end, winning a quarter of a length in front of Haybah with Pursuits two lengths away in third.
A run in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield has always been the target for the filly but Smerdon admitted this morning that a potential tilt in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) the following month is also on the cards.
“She’s a big, strong, relaxed filly and is getting better all the time and learning more all the time,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with her right now – the Slipper remains a possibility.”
Just four horses have completed the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double and not since Courtza in 1989.
Mark Zahra rode Fontiton in her two victories and also saddled the filly in her jumpout at Caulfield. The jockey had nothing but praise for her laid-back performance.
“She was there for an easy trial – a chance to use the course proper and she gave me a great feel,” he said.
“She could have won easily had I asked her to and she’s learning all the time.
“Today proved she is not one dimentional and that she is very sensible and laid-back.”
Fontiton is on the second line of betting for the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au, offering odds of $5, while the filly is an $11 shot in the 2015 Golden Slipper futures betting.
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