Melbourne’s Robert Smerdon has confirmed race favourite Fontein Ruby will be joined in Saturday’s 2015 Australasian Oaks field by stablemate Ungrateful Ellen in the staying feature at Morphettville Racecourse.
Smerdon’s in-form Turffontein filly Fontein Ruby has been well-supported at Ladbrokes.com.au to win her third on the trot with an elite level victory in Adelaide on the weekend taking out the $400,000 Group 1 Australasian Schweppes Oaks (2000m).
Due to run as Race 5 at 2:38pm (SA time) on Robert Sangster Stakes Day, the Schweppes Oaks field is at capacity this Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival with 16 starters and four emergencies all paid up for.
Two of those confirmed runners assured of a start come from Smerdon’s Caulfield stables, including Fontein Ruby coming off a victory at home in the VOBIS Gold Reef (1600m) from April 18.
Saturday she goes up to 2000m again, a distance she has won one of her two previous starts at, and Mark Zahra will get every chance from barrier two.
Smerdon also has Fontein Ruby’s longer-priced stablemate Ungrateful Ellen in the mix, confirming she would take them on in the Oaks despite having also been nominated for the Super VOBIS 3YO Handicap at Caulfield this weekend.
A last start winner in a Benchmark 70 over the mile at Bendigo on April 16, Grey Swallow filly Ungrateful Ellen didn’t have as much luck with the barriers and will likely go back from a wide gate 17 (into 13 with the emergencies out) with Craig Williams in the saddle.
While all the hype is on the stakes winning Fontein Ruby, Smerdon isn’t ruling Ungrateful Ellen out just yet based on her good fourth to Petrology when Williams last rode her as a 60/1 outsider in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) last November.
“Fontein Ruby has the score on the board but Ungrateful Ellen was terrific in the Sandown Guineas last year and we’ve been looking to get her out to this trip,” he said.
Smerdon confirmed the filly’s major target this time in as the $115,000 Group 3 South Australian Fillies Classic (2500m) back at Morphettville on The Goodwood Day, May 16, and that the further she got out in distance the better he expected her to perform.
“She’s heading towards the South Australian Fillies Classic two weeks later but this is a good step for her along the way,” he said.
“I think she’s only been getting warmed up in her last couple of runs and the 2000 will suit her, even if she could run fourth in a race like that it would be good for her CV.”
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