Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon will chase a black-type win at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday with Atmospherical in the Carlyon Stakes 2016.
Looking to add to the Northern Meteor six-year-old’s future value as a broodmare, Smerdon has targeted a run in the $120,000 Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) with the race attracting a bumper 19 nominations on Monday.
He was surprised by the class of the possible rivals Atmospherical will face off against in the set weights plus penalties sprint, and knows weight will be working against his Group 1 performer when she carries 55kg.
“Looking at the ratings, we’re disadvantaged against a couple of horses and it came up a really strong race,” Smerdon told Racenet.
She holds a handicap rating of 95 and six of the other Carlyon Stakes entries are higher-rated including this year’s Group 1 The Galaxy runner-up Shiraz (106) and the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Group 1 Oakleigh Plate third placegetter last time out Heatherly.
Last start Atmospherical finished a first-up third behind fellow Carlyon Stakes nominee Wild Rain in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) on July 16 when beaten under two lengths.
This weekend she heads to the tight Moonee Valley track for the first time and Smerdon is hoping the drop back to 1000m, which Atmospherical is a dual winner over, will suit.
To date she has won six of her 22 career starts, two of which were in Listed class, and she was scratched from a mares’ race last weekend in favour of her shot at a third stakes’ win.
“The 1000m is probably the better distance for her and it’s a stakes race so it adds more to her worth if she can perform there than a normal mares’ race,” Smerdon explained.
“Winning an average mares’ race is not going to add to her long-term value.
“She doesn’t take a lot of work because she’s lightly-framed and she’s coming back from the 1100 to the 1000.”
Nicholas Hall retains the ride on Atmospherical this weekend.
In other Carlyon Stakes news, Mornington trainer Lyn Tolson and her daughter Leonie Proctor will chase a win in the race with Star Witness stallion Well Sprung.
The galloper won on this day 12 months ago breaking his maiden status in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) as a 26/1 outsider, and is after just his second win since.
The now four-year-old’s other victory came on April 2 this year at home at Mornington over the 1000m, before a disappointing 11th at Caulfield later that month.
He has been spelled since and while hopeful, Tolson knows the horse is up against a tough line-up in the Carlyon Stakes this season.
“It would be nice if it could happen again but I think the Carlyon is a little bit harder this year,” she said.
The Carlyon Stakes 2016 field and barriers are out on Wednesday followed by the release of fixed win betting online at our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.