Robert Smerdon could soon have two Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) favourites in his stable after two-year-old filly Thurlow won the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on Saturday.
Fontiton has been his best chance in the $1 million race since winning the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Preview (1000m) last month but Thurlow could soon be a contender.
Wearing blinkers for the first time seemed to benefit Thurlow in the Chairman’s Stakes, her first start since winning the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) back in November. The filly was $4.20 second favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au and did not disappoint punters.
Jumping from barrier two with hoop Craig Williams, the filly settled into fifth place with Parcel and Haybah on the speed. However Thurlow tracked into the race in the straight before sprinting to the front 200 metres out.
While she tired late, the filly just lasted long enough to deny Haybah ($5.50) the win by half a length with Gai Waterhouse’s Brooklyn ($18) a further short half-head away in third.
Smerdon will now discuss whether or not Thurlow takes her place in the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes field on February 28 with both Williams and owners Qatar Bloodstock, but she’s definitely increased her chances.
“I would say they would probably want to go there,” Smerdon told Sky Racing.
“It’s an opportunity at a Group One race and she’s a Group level winner now.”
Thurlow and Fontiton are like chalk and cheese according to Smerdon, who has always rated the latter as the better juvenile, but the potential gain of running both in the Blue Diamond Stakes outweighs the risks.
“Barriers, track conditions on the day and runs in the race. If you’ve got two bullets to fire it might be better shooting them both off,” he said.
Fontiton has sat at the top of the Blue Diamond betting since it opened, offering odds of $5 at Ladbrokes.com.au, while Thurlow is currently sitting at $17.
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2015 Chairman’s Stakes Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||THURLOW||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||–||2||56kg||$4.20|
|2||7||HAYBAH||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Stephen Baster||0.5L||5||54kg||$5.50|
|3||3||BROOKLYN||Gai Waterhouse||Damien Oliver||0.6L||1||56kg||$18|
|4||9||PARCEL||Wez Hunter||Chris Parnham (a)||2.6L||9||54kg||$8|
|5||1||PROMPT RETURN||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||3.6L||7||58kg||$4|
|6||6||MORE THAN MOST||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||5.1L||3||56kg||$10|
|7||8||CERTAIN ELLIE||Paul Rocke||Alan Creighton||8.35L||8||54kg||$61|
|8||5||BROCKHOFF||Ciaron Maher||Nicholas Hall||12.6L||6||56kg||$8.50|
|9||4||ASSERTIVE STAR||Byron Cozamanis||Chad Schofield||13.35L||4||56kg||$101|