Melbourne’s Robert Smerdon will not accept for his smart filly Fontein Ruby in Saturday’s Adelaide black-type the Auraria Stakes, instead keeping her at home for a more lucrative run at Caulfield Racecourse.
The three-year-old daughter of Turffontein is a dual nominee across two states on Saturday with entries in both the $115,000 Group 3 Auraria (Schweppervescence) Stakes (1800m) where she would carry 58.5kg as well as Caulfield’s $250,000 VOBIS Gold Reef Handicap (1600m).
The Morphettville race may be Listed status but it holds lower prize money and the set weights plus penalties conditions will see Smerdon’s last start Listed Alexandra Stakes (1600m) winner at Moonee Valley carry the top weight.
Caulfield then has shaped up as the more attractive option for the Group 1 performer who at set weights in the VOBIS Gold Reef will get in on 55kg, and she won’t have to travel ahead of the weekend’s racing.
Smerdon weighed up the options and will stick with the Melbourne race even though the extra metres in Adelaide (1800m) would have been good to go over as Fontein Ruby heads into the $400,000 Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks (2000m) back at Morphettville on May 2.
“The Adelaide race was possibly more suitable at 1800 (metres) leading into the South Australian Oaks but the prize money here at home was too good to pass up,” Smerdon told Racenet.
“Prize money apart, the Caulfield race is set-weights so she gets in very well and it looks a good spot for her.
“She’s a tough little thing and has thrived since the Moonee Valley win.
“The Australasian Oaks in two week’ time at Morphettville is the race we set her for and she’s heading towards that in good shape.”
Without Fontein Ruby in the Auraria Stakes line-up, the early Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival clash still features a tidy line-up including the Listed Laeila Stakes (1600m) trifecta at the same track and distance from March 28: the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly Ondina (1st), Tony McEvoy’s daughter of Redoute’s Choice Into The Mist (2nd) and Cathy’s Mark (3rd) from the Flemington stables of Nigel Blackiston.
In the Caulfield race, that has a Super VOBIS owners bonus of $23,000 on offer for qualified horses, Fontein Ruby is easily the highest rated chance on a 94 rating.
The next best are the 77-rated hopes Setinum who won the Listed Bendigo Guineas (1400m) on March 21 and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained filly Jurasound shooting for her fourth win on the trot.
A winner of five of her 16 career starts including the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) last October, Fontein Ruby has already earned $880,370 in prize money.
The $150,000 for first prize at Caulfield this weekend would then see her career earning’s exceed the $1 million mark.
Her regular rider Mark Zahra is currently serving a suspension and Smerdon has replaced him in the mount this weekend with Nicholas Hall for his first ride on the in-form filly.
“She’s trained on well, very well and I could not be more pleased with her,” Smerdon added.
Fields for all of Saturday’s racing are out shortly so stay tuned to Races.com.au.
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