Serious Speed ready to bounce back
So far this spring Serious Speed has failed to recapture winning form and trainer Leon Macdonald is hoping she chooses Saturday’s Group One Myer Classic to right the wrong.
The lightly-framed mare won the Thousand Guineas last spring before running second to Arapaho Miss in the VRC Oaks.
In the autumn she ran third in the Group One Robert Sangster on her home track of Morphettville in Adelaide then travelled to Sydney where she won the Group Two Hobartville Stakes.
She was an unlucky fifth in both the Doncaster Handicap (1600m) and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
The Queen Elizabeth convinced Macdonald not to extend her beyond the 1600 metres of the Myer Classic and she showed improvement on her first two starts this campaign when fourth to Mimi Lebrock in the Group Two Tristarc Stakes (1400m) last Saturday week, beaten less than two lengths.
"She is going okay but not as well as she was a year ago or even six months ago but there is no reason why she can’t turn it around," Macdonald said.
"The Myer is a nice race for her and she has drawn well in four."
Absolut Glam and Forensics were posted as $4.80 equal favourites in TAB Sportsbet’s first markets today with Mimi Lebrock at $7 after drawing the outside gate in the 16-horse field.
Gallant Tess was an $8 chance with Serious Speed next at $9.50.
Trainer David Payne said he had no concerns about backing Gallant Tess up from the Cox Plate in which she ran eighth, four lengths behind the winner Maldivian.
"She is a pretty tough horse and has done very well in the days since the Cox Plate," Payne said.
"I thought her run was excellent because Samantha Miss came back on her at the 800 metres and if that hadn’t happened she would have finished a lot closer.
"She got caught on the fence and nothing could make ground from the back."
Gallant Tess has won five of her 25 starts and been placed eight times including three at Group One level.
She finished third to Mentality in the 2006 Champagne Stakes and was again third to that horse in last month’s George Main Stakes before being placed in the Epsom Handicap won by Theseo.
Regular partner Jeff Lloyd returns from suspension to ride Gallant Tess while Dan Nikolic, who rode Serious Speed to win the Thousand Guineas, will be reunited with that mare.
By Caryl Williamson