Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The recently upgraded 2018 Surround Stakes is shaping-up as a nice early Group 1 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival aim for Anthony Freedman’s Myer Classic winning filly Shoals.
The three-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock beat home the older mares carrying the light-weight to a narrow victory at Flemington on VRC Derby Day last November in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m).
That followed a string of excellent runs from Shoals whose career record now stands at five wins and two seconds from seven starts for just over $1 million in prize money.
Her Mornington-based trainer Freedman is again very happy with how the filly has come through her spell and was pleased with her Werribee hit-out over 800m on Monday morning.
Ridden by Mark Zahra, Shoals ran second in the cruisy piece of work behind Amber Sky, a Group 1 winning Hong Kong import, in the fourth heat of the morning in an easy time of 49.87 seconds.
“I’m happy with her, she’s stronger this time around and in good shape,” Freedman told the media on Monday.
“We didn’t do a lot with her today, she’s still early in her preparation and I’d say she will have another jump-out in a couple of weeks.”
First-up Freedman is eyeing the Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) on February 10 at Caulfield in Melbourne for Shoals before a trip up to Sydney.
She will then likely be aimed towards a run on Chipping Norton Stakes Day at Royal Randwick in the Group 1 $500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) against her own kind on March 3.
“The plan is for her to run there [in the Kevin Hayes Stakes] and then we’ll decide where we go,” Freedman said.
“Her owners are keen to go to Sydney for the Surround Stakes as it is a Group 1 race now so all being well she could be second-up in that.
“She’s definitely stronger and she looks heavier – she’s had a nice little puff from the jump-out and last season she wouldn’t have as she wasn’t carrying as much condition.
“She’s good, happy with her so far so we will just press on.”
Early all-in Surround Stakes betting at bookmarkers around the country has Australia’s newest Group 1 race shaping-up as a three-way battle between Shoals, Aloisia and Alizee.
The trio met over the spring including in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield in mid-October.
In that Shoals ran second to the Aaron Purcell-trained Aloisia, while Godolphin’s Sepoy filly Alizee finished third on the back of a Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) win in Sydney.
Shoals obviously went on to salute in the Myer Classic earning a Group 1 success of her own, while Aloisia also franked the form taking out the Group 3 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) with a three and a half-length victory over Cliff’s Edge.
The daughter of Azamour failed to run the distance in her final spring run however finishing a midfield sixth to Pinot at Flemington on November 9 as the beaten odds-on favourite in the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2040m).
To back your favourite fillies across the autumn at the best price including access to all-in Surround Stakes 2018 odds visit Ladbrokes.com.au.
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