Michael Moroney’s Flemington-trained filly Alaskan Rose geared up for her Sydney debut in the Adrian Knox Stakes 2016 with a smart piece of work at Randwick’s Kensington track on Tuesday morning.
One of the key support races at Randwick Racecourse on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday, this year’s $200,000 Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) attracted a total of 25 three-year-old fillies.
Included in the early entries is Encosta De Lago filly Alaskan Rose who has won two of her eight Melbourne starts to date.
She hasn’t saluted since August last year however, but caught the eye at home at Flemington on March 12 when third to Felicienne in the Group 3 Matron Stakes (1600m) last time out.
This weekend she heads to Sydney for the Adrian Knox ahead of a possible seven day back-up into the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 9 back at the track.
The Adrian Knox has produced two of the past three Australian Oaks winners, with the Chris Waller-trained Royal Descent (2013) completing the double and John Sargent’s Gust Of Wind improving on a fourth in last year’s race to salute in the Group 1 as a 16/1 outsider in betting.
On Tuesday Alaskan Rose showed her ability to handle the Sydney way of racing, impressing Moroney with a strong 1200m hit-out on the steeple grass at Kensington in a smart 1.17.77, including a final 400m sectional in 23.79 seconds.
“Very pleased with that,” Moroney told Racenet.
“She was particularly sharp at the finish and looked like she handled going the other way without any problem.
“She is going as well as she has ever gone.
“Her runs have been good without a lot of luck and she’s run some good sectionals.
“Last start against the older mares was good after copping some interference from the riderless horse and she’s improved since then.”
Blake Shinn replaces Glen Boss in the saddle for the Adrian Knox Stakes on Saturday where Moroney is confident the step up from 1600m to 2000m will suit Alaskan Rose ideally.
“We had a little doubt that she might have trouble learning to relax and get past a mile early on in her career,” he said.
“She’s shown in her runs this time around she’s possibly not as sharp as she was in the spring and is looking to go further. She is definitely a stronger filly this time in.”
All going well, Moroney confirmed plans to extend her out to a mile and a half in Saturday week’s Oaks, a race she pays $51 in futures betting to win.
“Depending on how she goes Saturday we’ll give the (Australian) Oaks some thought but it would be a quick back-up and there are plenty of nice options for her later in Brisbane,” he said, referring to the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival in May and June.
All-in Australian Oaks betting is led by Ciaron Maher’s VRC Oaks winner Jameka who takes on the boys this Saturday in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on the back of a Rosehill Guineas third to Derby top fancy Tarzino.
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