Phillip Stokes’ Blue Diamond flop Samara Dancer will get the chance to atone in Group 1 company against her own kind this season targeting the Thousand Guineas 2016 in October.
The Hinchinbrook filly won her opening two career starts as a juvenile including the Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) before she crossed a distant 14th behind the Mick Price-trained winner Extreme Choice in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
“After she won the Prelude, we took her back to Adelaide and she really lightened off. She just didn’t back up in the Blue Diamond,” Stokes explained to The Courier Mail this week.
She hasn’t had a run since that disappointing elite level effort back in late February, but is gearing up to her new season return as a three-year-old during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Her Morphettville-based trainer Stokes plans to run her first-up at Flemington Racecourse in the $200,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) on September 10.
Second-up she’ll run a fortnight later at Caulfield Racecourse in the $200,000 Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) before tackling the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) back at the track on October 8.
Stokes has had four previous Thousand Guineas runners over the years without a top three finish, something he hopes to change with Samara Dancer this season.
The past two Thousand Guineas winners came off a run in the Prelude with Amicus (2nd) in 2014 and Stay With Me (6th) in 2015.
Pre-nomination Thousand Guineas betting is currently led by David Vandyke’s ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Yankee Rose who will first run in Sydney’s $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
Samara Dancer can also be found in the top half of the futures Thousand Guineas odds at around $15 to hand Stokes his maiden victory in the fillies’ only feature.
Other notable fillies on the Thousand Guineas path this year include Leon & Troy Corstens’ Listed winner in Adelaide Modern Wonder, the Chris Waller-trained Omei Sword, Group 3 winner from Sydney’s ‘The Championships’ Missrock and Hinchinbrook filly Manaya who won in Black-Type company on debut at Scone in the winter.
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