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Melbourne-based filly Gungastuck races this Wednesday at Sandown-Lakeside with trainer Mick Price hoping for a nice showing ahead of a Schweppes Oaks 2016 bid in Adelaide during the autumn.
The three-year-old daughter of Encosta De Lago has had five runs to date, breaking her maiden status three back during the winter with a two length win over 1380m.
She has had one run this time in when third, beaten only half a length, from the outside barrier 11 of 11 over 1300m in a Benchmark 64 at Sandown-Hillside at the start of the month.
This week she shoots for her first summer – autumn win in the $40,000 The Cove Hotel Handicap (1600m) as one of just eight three-year-olds in the Benchmark 70 clash.
Drawn in barrier six, Damien Oliver retains the ride on the progressive Caulfield-trained filly who Price has heading towards the $400,000 Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 7 next year.
Wednesday’s Sandown opener features two undefeated runners that Price is cautious of.
The Peter Moody-trained Starcraft gelding Vostok gets the rails run from barrier one shooting for three wins on the trot.
Jason Warren’s Street Cry filly Backstreet Lover has also won her opening two assignments including over 1400m at Sandown-Hillside by over two lengths on December 9 as the odds-on favourite.
Price remains confident in his filly’s ability however and believes the midweek assignment right up her alley as she gets out over more distance.
“There’s two horses that have won their last two in that race, so it’s going to be a bit tricky for her, but certainly she wants 1600 (metres),” Price told Racing Victoria’s Dean Pettit on Tuesday.
“It was a good run first-up, I want to get her winning and see if I can end up in South Australia in one of those Oaks races.
“I’d just like to see her just finish off. Second up over a mile, it’s a tough job to win, but as long as she runs well we’ll be happy.”
After the Schweppes Oaks, all going well, Price could also run Gungastuck a fortnight later back at Morphettville in the $120,000 Group 3 SA Fillies Classic (2500m) over more distance again.
Price has a total of seven runners across the 10-race card at Sandown on Wednesday including a trio of stablemates in Race 7 – the $40,000 Polytrack Handicap (1400m) – with Net Wealth, Twisting Typhoon and Downhearted.
Of the three Twisting Typhoon is the lightest raced having only debuted on December 2 at the Sandown-Hillside track with a tidy one length win over 1300m as a $20 shot.
The Manhattan Rain gelding looks to retain his undefeated status then over 100m further this week getting the inside run from gate one with Jake Noonan in the saddle again.
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