Melbourne’s Robert Smerdon has confirmed his Queensland Oaks runner Ungrateful Ellen is out in the paddock preparing for a spring return possibly targeting the 2015 Matriarch Stakes on Emirates Stakes Day.
Smerdon is gearing up for a big weekend in Brisbane saddling-up the favourite in the $2 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben Racecourse in his last-start The Straight Six winning filly Lumosty.
She was impressive winning at Flemington over 1200m on May 23 by close to three lengths and should she make the starting line-up in the Stradbroke Handicap field, Queensland’s richest race, she will start top of the odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Smerdon meanwhile has sent another of the stable’s exciting three-year-old fillies, Ungrateful Ellen, to the paddock for a spell after a brave effort at Doomben last weekend.
The daughter of Grey Swallow came off two good Adelaide runs and jumped an $11 shot in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) before finishing second behind Chris Waller’s runaway Winx who saluted as the odds-on favourite for the punters in the latest elite level of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
It was an Oaks run that impressed Smerdon who was even surprised with how well she did in her maiden run in the Sunshine State behind such a class rival in Winx.
“I was delighted with how she ran, it was virtually as good as a win because I always thought Winx had a mortgage on the race,” he told The Courier-Mail.
He is happy to have her in the spelling paddock now and is already looking at her spring preparation with a likely target of November’s $300,000 Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse on the last day of the coveted Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“She will have a spell and then come back for a light spring campaign and we will possibly look at a race like the Matriarch Stakes for her,” Smerdon confirmed.
A possible lead-up into the Matriarch for Ungrateful Ellen next time in is the Group 3 Tesio Stakes (1600m) run over the Moonee Valley mile in late October on Cox Plate Day.
Last spring the Nigel Blackiston-trained Suavito completed the Teiso Stakes – Matriarch Stakes double with the latter registered and run as the Momentum Energy Stakes.
Suavito returned in the autumn and won two on the trot including the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) first-up at Caulfield in late February this year, a plan of action Smerdon could follow if all goes well with Ungrateful Ellen in the coming months post-spell.
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