Flying Caulfield-based horseman Ciaron Maher is making early plans to set his dual Group 1 winning winter sensation Srikandi towards an international campaign at the end of the year in Hong Kong after a Darley Classic 2015 run in Melbourne this spring.
A talented daughter of Dubawi, four-year-old Srikandi improved on her sixth in the Doomben 10,000 behind Boban when she beat home the same galloper two back to win Queensland’s richest race – the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m).
She was third as the beaten favourite in the same race last winter but this season managed to go two better before backing up at the Gold Coast last weekend to add another elite level win to her record with a one length victory over Avoid Lightning in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).
Now enjoying a well-earned spell, Srikandi is already being set for a big spring – summer return with more Group 1 glory in store for the $2.17 million earner.
Her major Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival assignment at home is likely to be the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight on Emirates Stakes Day, November 7, during Cup week.
While nothing is set in stone, Maher is keen to then look at a Hong Kong campaign at Sha Tin in December for Srikandi in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), which is the final leg of the nine race Global Sprint Challenge, should she receive an invite from the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).
It is a different plan of attack in 2015 compared to last year when Maher chose not to back Srikandi up in the spring post-winter, but he is confident she’s up for a tougher campaign this season having earned her spot with Australia’s best sprinters.
“This is a bit different to last year as she’d been in work all year and was feeling the effects of a long campaign,” he told the Herald Sun.
“She just didn’t come up for the spring.
“This year, she didn’t race earlier in the year and she’s going out for a break in great shape and should bounce back quickly.
“I think she’s now done enough to target the top-drawer sprints.
“With her rating, we have to have a shot at them.
“She’s improved every campaign as she’s needed to do and I’m hoping for that to happen again.”
Also Darley Classic-bound this season is Joe Pride’s defending champion Terravista who returned to his trainer’s Warwick Farm stables on Monday and is on track for an improved campaign this time in.
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