Trainer John Sargent is confident Four Moves Ahead can affirm her place among the top fillies of her generation in Saturday’s Group 2 $200,000 Darley Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Plenty was expected of the filly, who ran fourth in the Golden Slipper and Inglis Sires’, when she turned three with Sargent always adamant this season would see her flourish but her two runs this spring have been below expectations.
Sargent said there have been excuses for her two runs back but in reality she’s hardly failed given she was beaten half a length finishing third in the Silver Shadow and 1.5 lengths when fifth in the Furious.
“Things just haven’t gone to plan,’’ he said.
“First run she was caught wide and pulling then that last run, we had to go back from the draw so we’ll forgive her for that but at least we know she can relax for the Flight.
“She’s back to her best, I think you’ll see that on Saturday. Her coat has come out now and we’ll be a bit more positive from the draw.”
Jockey Nash Rawiller believes the decision to ride Four Moves Ahead back in the Furious was the right one and doing it was for the greater good but he concluded it cost her a couple of lengths.
She still produced the second fastest last 600m of the race, behind the winner Jamaea, running 33.56 (Punter’s Intelligence).
As Sargent alluded Rawiller will be looking to find a position closer to the speed than last time.
“It just hasn’t fallen quite into place for her yet but we have plenty to look forward to,’’ he said.
“I was adamant going into that run we had to ride her quiet. If we bounced out and got caught wide I think it would have ruined the preparation for where we are going.
“I think the way she relaxed and found the line it’s going to be perfect for 1400m and going into the Flight Stakes.”
Four Moves Ahead was $4.20 favourite with TAB on Thursday, with Furious Stakes winner Jamaea absent to focus on next week’s Golden Rose, and is $7 favourite for the Group 1 Flight in two weeks.
Sargent said her two runs at 1200m were runs she had to have to “harden her up” given her spring will only comprise four runs and after the Flight she’ll head to the paddock.
“I’d like to see Four Moves Ahead make a statement that will show she will be hard to beat in the Flight,’’ he said.
“That’s the one we’re after for a three-year-old filly.
“She’s getting more like her sister Emeralds where she should get a very strong mile.”
A class drop and smart use of a claim has Sargent confident Elizabeel has a good chance to return to the winner’s circle in the Agency Handicap (1400m).
The mare was beaten just over two lengths second-up in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) at Wyong and drops to a Benchmark 78 where she’ll carry just 56.5kg after Ellen Hennessy’s claim.
“She’s lost her coat as well and I think she’s at peak,’’ he said.
“She’ll bowl along from that draw (nine), be on speed or lead. She was just one short at Wyong, she ranged into it to win but just came to the end of it.”
Elizabeel was $14 with TAB on Thursday.
– Racing NSW