After previously naming the Thousand Guineas as a likely Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival target for smart filly Fontiton, trainer Robert Smerdon now claims a sprint campaign is more likely for the rising three-year-old including a run in the Coolmore Stud Stakes 2015.
Turfontein filly Fontiton hasn’t raced since suffering her first loss at her fourth start when fifth to the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Pride Of Dubai in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in late February.
That followed a trio of wins from the up-and-comer who kicked off her career in fine style taking out the Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley in October last year and then completing the Blue Diamond (Fillies) Preview – Prelude double this autumn.
After the Blue Diamond loss Fontiton underwent surgery to remove bone chips from her legs and Smerdon is happy with the way she has recovered ahead of her spring return, the filly coming back into work two weeks ago.
While not completely ruling out a run in the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse on October 10, Smerdon believes the shorter distance features will be more suitable for her this time in.
“We know what she can do over the shorter trips,” he told AAP.
“She probably won’t have a lot of racing through the spring and we’ll probably stay to the shorter trips, I would imagine.
“I think she’s a bit late coming in for the Thousand Guineas and we don’t know whether she runs a mile.”
Her most suitable new aim is the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) where she will take on the boys at Flemington Racecourse on Victoria Derby Day on October 31.
Another notable Coolmore Stud Stakes hope this spring is the Mornington-based Of The Brave, Mark Riley’s Starspangledbanner colt having won the colts and gelding’s edition of the Blue Diamond Prelude before a failed 12th in the Group 1 on February 28 last time out.
Price meanwhile was also happy with the Tuesday jumpout at Sandown this week of Group 3 winning Sebring filly Thurlow who could run first-up either Saturday week at Moonee Valley or have another trial ahead of the $150,000 Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 15.
Also on trial at Sandown for the stable was a half-sister to 2013 Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner, Starcraft filly Fife whose sole run to date was a third on debut at Ballarat at the start of this month.
She is likely to return to that track this Sunday for her second career run in a two-year-old fillies’ race run over 1200m where Smerdon is tipping improvement.
“She had a soft jumpout and she might go to Ballarat on Sunday,” he said.
“She might have a break after Sunday but she might go on. How far she goes will be determined by her.
“We like her, but she’s still learning and is a work in progress. Every time she does something she does it better than the time before.”
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