Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) contender Miss Federer. Photo: Race Images South
Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston will use Saturday’s Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton as the litmus test for Miss Federer’s (NZ) (Swiss Ace) Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) prospects.
The daughter of Swiss Ace has impressed at her two starts this spring, including a game last-start win in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m). But a question mark lingers over whether the three-year-old’s stamina will extend to a mile and Saturday’s stepping-stone 1400m contest is likely to provide some insight.
“I think she will get 1400m, especially at Ashburton,” Carston said.
“It is a track that is suited to front-runners. It is a speed track and I am pretty confident she will get the 1400m around there. It probably depends on what sort of pressure she gets up front and I see the Pitman team have entered Okay Pal, and he has got plenty of speed.
“I am a little unsure how much pressure is going to be in the race.”
Miss Federer has drawn perfectly in barrier three and will again be ridden by Kylie Williams, who rode the filly to victory last start.
“The speed that she shows from the gate, I think she will get a position, whether that is in front or near the lead,” Carston said. “She is that kind of horse, she will jump and put herself there.
“I just think she is a better horse on the speed. She won’t be back. The only time I did that was at Auckland and it was a disaster.”
Carston said the multiple stakes winner was as tough as old boots and will dig in for the fight in a close finish.
“The only way I think she would have been beaten last time is if she hadn’t seen the other horse out-wide on the track and she sling-shotted her. Kylie said she pricked her ears a bit when she saw the other horse coming.
“She is the kind of filly that loves a dogfight and we have seen that in the past.”
A 79-rater, Miss Federer is currently second in the order of entry for the 1000 Guineas in a year in which there is no clear standout amongst the filly ranks.
“Saturday is an important race for her,” Carston said. “I have spoken with the owners and told them that if she doesn’t get 1400m at Ashburton, she won’t be going to the Guineas. There is no decision made for the 1000 Guineas until after Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Carston has opted to wait an extra week with stablemate and fellow 1000 Guineas aspirant, Sorceress (NZ) (Showcasing), who will contest the Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday week.
“An extra week between runs is not going to hurt her and she is really well,” Carston said. “She is definitely holding her condition and going well, and she deserves her chance.
“At this stage, she is similar to Miss Federer. She can go to the mile at Riccarton and if she fronts up there, she can go to the Guineas and if she doesn’t, she won’t.
“I am as happy as I can be with both of my fillies and I just felt the three-week gap for Sorceress would be better for her and then it is three weeks until the 1000 Guineas.”