A good enough run at Moonee Valley Racecourse this Saturday could keep the 2016 Thousand Guineas dream alive for the Danny O’Brien-trained filly Merriest.
The Flemington-based O’Brien is hoping his lightly-raced daughter of Denman can shape up as a livewire chance for the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) this season.
The mile classic runs at Caulfield Racecourse on October 8 and currently Merriest is only rated a $41 outsider in all-in Thousand Guineas betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Her generous Thousand Guineas odds could firm if she shows up and finishes in the money on Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day this weekend in Melbourne.
She is one of 28 three-year-old fillies nominated for this season’s $120,000 Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m).
The set weights plus penalties sprint is the scheduled second-up run for Merriest who resumed racing on August 13 at Caulfield.
She jumped a $10 chance in betting first-up in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m), but only managed to cross three lengths away eighth behind I Am A Star.
A winner at Caulfield on debut back in April, Merriest was also unplaced behind the in-form Shane Nichols-trained I Am A Star two back at Flemington down the straight as the beaten odds-on favourite on May 7.
O’Brien is hoping she can turn the tables getting out over more distance this weekend in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes where she meets I Am A Star two kilos better in the weights.
“She was very unlucky, she went back and didn’t see any daylight in the straight,” O’Brien told Racing Victoria speaking of Merriest’s Quezette Stakes run.
“She’s come on well from that and we’re expecting a good run on Saturday.
“We’re still finding that out [if she’s got Thousand Guineas potential], Saturday will tell us a bit more.
“We’ll probably try her at 1400m, and that’ll give us an idea.”
The heaviest weighted of the nominated fillies is the undefeated Perth raider Whispering Brook (58.5kg).
Prepared at Ascot in WA by Simon Miller, the nicely-bred daughter of Hinchinbrook has won all five of her career starts to date and makes her interstate debut if accepted for the Valley showdown.
She is a four-time stakes winner and triple Group winner including her last start victory in the Group 3 W.A. Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) back in mid-April.
Both I Am A Star and Whispering Brook are rated $17 chances in the Thousand Guineas markets led by Chris Waller’s Silver Shadow Stakes winner Omei Sword ($3.80).
Omei Sword is also nominated for a possible run this weekend but in Sydney at Royal Randwick in the $175,000 Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m).
The other best fancied of the Thousand Guineas-bound fillies entered for the Atlantic Jewel Stakes this weekend is the Lindsay Park-trained Athena Lass ($21).
A daughter of Snitzel, Athena Lass has had just two starts to date with a Moonee Valley win in the wet on debut in July and a close third when only a quarter-length off the winner in the Quezette Stakes.
Back your favourite fillies this weekend and in the Thousand Guineas at the right price online through Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).