Shane Fliedner will saddle up the 14th Group 1 runner of his career on Saturday when St Edward’s Crown tackles the $1 million Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m).
The filly is the $51 outsider of the 11-horse field but Fliedner is hopeful of a forward showing and dreaming of a maiden major win.
“We’ve set her for this race so there’s plenty of personal satisfaction to get her there,” he said this week.
“It’s what we’re all in the game for and it’s great to have a horse running in the race.”
Damien Thornton has been booked to ride, with blinkers applied for the first time.
“I’d be rapt with any rain during the week but we’ll ride her cold and give the best chance to finish in the mix,” Fliedner said.
“I do think the best of her will be in the autumn but she’s a well bred filly for some great owners so you have to have a go.”
St Edward’s Crown is a half-sister to Group 2 winner Viridine and already a valuable filly as a two-year-old Flemington winner and a placegetter in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes earlier this campaign.
The Fliedner stable is in form heading into Saturday after the promising staying prospect Queen Guinevere scored over 2049 metres at Benalla on Monday. A daughter of Camelot, the mare has always shown-above average ability and relished a step up in distance.
“Being by (Epsom Derby winner) Camelot, I think she’ll be a better five- and six-year-old,” Fliedner said.
“I think once the carnival is over in Melbourne there’ll be a few soft fillies-and-mares races in town, so we’ll probably concentrate on that.”
Penny too tough
Iron mare Penny to Sell has bounced back to form last Saturday, the eight-year-old winning her second Gunbower Cup to cap a big week for the Mick Sell stable.
Penny to Sell ($4.40), who won the Gunbower Cup in 2017, was the best of four winners for jockey Samuel Payne, who let her stride from a wide draw to land in the box seat.
Second up at 1800 metres the Pentire mare held off the challenge of fellow Goldfields challenger Shaq to score her 12th win and take her earnings to $338,826.
The victory was a vindication for three of her owners, who bought her back at the Inglis sales in mid-June for $44,000 with the intention of continuing her racing career.
The victory capped a memorable 24 hours for Sell, who won at his former racecourse, bet365 Park Kyneton, on Friday with Raid the Cabinet at odds of $26.
Last weekend’s wins were the first of the 2019/20 season for Sell, who last term notched 16 wins to be crowned Bendigo’s leading trainer.
Sutton Grange trainer Brent Stanley’s day at Gunbower got off to the perfect start when Shakam took the opener, breaking his maiden at start five.
Placings at Echuca and Mildura this campaign saw the five-year-old sent out a $5 chance under Rose Pearson.
Pearson fought out the finish with Alana Kelly aboard the Danny Curran-trained Fair Go, with only a head separating the pair.
Stanley’s other two runners at Gunbower, Think About Me and Shaq, both finished second, while at Flemington Violate finished fifth and Bendigo Cup winner Red Alto ninth.
More Smart success?
Nick Smart has made an impact in his short time in Bendigo with a city winner and stakes winner in his first dozen runners and is looking to build on that record in coming weeks with his stable stars.
Silent Command, who was a Murray Bridge winner in August and followed up with a strong performance at The Valley, will line up at Hamilton on Saturday.
Meanwhile, last-start Tokyo City Cup winner Single Handed is likely to head to the Coongy Stakes next Wednesday or the following day’s Moe Cup.
Plans on track
The Bendigo Jockey Club continues to investigate ideas to transform its inside grass training track into a racing surface in the coming years.
The current circuit is 22 metres wide and used for jumpouts fortnightly but the club hopes after a $3-4 million investment it could be raced on weekly throughout winter.
The BJC plans to submit a grant application to government by the end of this year and pending approval could begin construction in mid-2020.
The upgrade is one of several ideas to increase the club’s horse population to about 300.
In less happy news for the club, Chautauqua has sustained a minor injury in his new career as a show horse and won’t be able to lead out the Bendigo Cup field. Living Legends-based Melbourne Cup winner and fellow grey Efficient will fill the void.