Mick Price has revoked original plans to run his classy mare Badawiya first-up in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and instead will kick off her spring with an easier Group 2 assignment in Saturday’s 2016 Let’s Elope Stakes.
The Caulfield-based horseman was considering sending his now four-year-old daughter of Al Maher fresh into the $500,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on September 24.
Instead he has her resuming earlier with a run on Makybe Diva Stakes Day at Flemington this weekend against a field of fellow mares in the $200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m).
The set weights plus penalties race attracted 21 nominations on Monday by Racing Victoria including Badawiya who will carry the 59kg top weight.
She hasn’t raced since her 11th when 4.4 lengths off the winner Precious Gem at Morphettville in Adelaide’s Group 1 Robert Sanger Stakes (1200m) back in early May.
That was her third unplaced run on the trot with Badawiya’s latest win being at Flemington on March 12 when she won the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) by 2.25 lengths.
She returns to that track and distance first-up on the weekend and Price is hoping she can regain the form that saw her win the Group 2 as a three-year-old first-up on the back of a third to Stay With Me in last October’s Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
“She looks great,” Price said.
“She’s quite a light-framed sort of a mare that doesn’t hold a lot of body weight but she looks very good for her at this time of the year and has already got a nice spring coat on her.
“I’m really happy with her and I know she’s going to run well but I would say it’s going to be a tougher race than when she beat the three-year-old fillies first-up last preparation.”
Price also hasn’t ruled the 2016 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes out of Badawiya’s early spring preparation entirely, saying she may still target the half-a-million-dollar handicap second-up.
“We were just of the opinion that in a Group 1 handicap against every good handicapper that wants to go there it was going to be a pretty tough race,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean that if she was to run Saturday that we can’t head that way second-up.”
The last Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winning mare was Response (2010) six years ago who won the Group 1 off a second in the Let’s Elope Stakes.
All-in Let’s Elope Stakes odds for this weekend at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by the Tony McEvoy-trained Don’t Doubt Mamma ($5.50) who has the fitness advantage coming off a close fifth only 1.6 lengths off the winner in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) on August 27.
Badawiya occupies the second line of pre-field Let’s Elope Stakes betting at $6.
To back your favourite runners across the Flemington card this weekend head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!