A smart Flemington trial from Group 1 winning mare Suavito has trainer Nigel Blackiston confident she will be spot on for a title defence in the Futurity Stakes 2016 next month.
Last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival the daughter of Thorn Park enjoyed a stellar campaign backing up from two Group wins over the sprint to extend her victorious streak to four on the trot.
First-up at Caulfield Racecourse she won the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m), her first Group 1 success, when defeating Smokin’ Joey by over a length with regular rider Damien Oliver in the saddle.
She is on track for another Futurity run in the now $500,000 feature this season on Blue Diamond Stakes Day run on Saturday February 27.
After last year’s Futurity, Suavito went to Flemington and won the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) before things went amiss for her in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Despite getting in on just 50.5kg and drawing the inside alley, she only managed to finish nearly five lengths away seventh to Kermadec.
The rising six-year-old hasn’t raced since the Doncaster last April having undergone surgery to remove a bone chip in her knee, her recovery from which ruled her out of a spring – summer campaign.
On Friday morning she took the latest step towards her much awaited return in the eighth Flemington jumpout of the morning with Oliver in the saddle once more.
She finished with a solid midfield placing that pleased Blackiston, who has another jumpout back at the track scheduled for a fortnight’s time.
“It was her first trial following the long layoff and she just had a nice, easy trial and did it very smoothly,” Blackiston told Racing Victoria.
“Damien (Oliver) was very happy with the way she felt.
“She’s done really well during her break. She’s come back bigger and stronger and I think both mentally and physically she’s improved again.
“She’ll trial again in two weeks and then we’ve got to work out whether we kick her off in the Orr Stakes or wait until the Futurity Stakes which she won last year.”
The $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) is the opening elite level race of the year and runs at Caulfield on February 13 followed by the Futurity at the same track and distance two weeks later.
Suavito’s win in last year’s Futurity is Blackiston’s sole success in either weight-for-age classic.
Looking further ahead Blackiston confirmed plans to head to Sydney so long as the weather and track conditions up there suited.
“We’ll put in a nomination for the Australian Cup and then you’ve also got the Sydney Championships and races like the Doncaster and Queen Of The Turf to consider as well,” he said.
“She ran terrific in the (Doncaster) last year on a bottomless track where she finished seventh and never handled the going at all.”
“Obviously we’ve got to be very wary as I think she can handle a certain amount of softness in the track but when it’s as heavy as it was last year she doesn’t get through it all and Sydney’s notoriously been heavy and extremely wet the last few years.
“We’ll keep her here as long as we can and if Sydney’s dry then we’ll head up there.”
The Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) runs at Flemington on ‘Super Saturday’ in mid-March followed by the Doncaster Mile on Day 1 of The Championships and the Queen Of The Turf Stakes for the fillies and mares on Sydney Cup Day the following Saturday.
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