By Ray Hickson
Trainer Edward O’Rourke says there’s no reason to complicate the return of classy filly Frolic at Royal Randwick on Saturday by fussing about barrier draws.
In fact, when he saw the Golden Slipper runner-up drew the outside gate in the Group 2 $200,000 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) he was almost relieved.
It now means O’Rourke can instruct jockey Jason Collett to keep it simple on Frolic.
“It doesn’t really bother me, we were always going to ride her cold,’’ O’Rourke said.
“We’re not going to change her racing pattern. It’s going to be a tough race and a big ask but he’ll be taking her time on her and come with one run down the outside.’’
Frolic finishes third in her Rosehill trial on February 5
When Frolic last raced, finishing midfield in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ back in April following her Golden Slipper placing, she was trained by Michael Freedman and O’Rourke was his foreman.
The Irishman then took over the training when Freedman relocated to Hong Kong so a high profile horse landed in his lap and the pressure came with her.
We haven’t seen Frolic since last autumn due to needing bone chips removed from both fetlocks and, despite two sound trials, O’Rourke admits to some question marks as to where she stands.
Due to the filly’s somewhat casual demeanour he’ll have to wait until race day to find out.
“She’s matured into a bigger and stronger filly but she still has the same attitude,’’ he said.
“She never really works flashy at home so it’s hard to get a real guide on if she’s back.
“I just want to see her hit that line strong to know we are heading in the right direction.
“Hughie Bowman was happy with her last trial so I suppose you can’t ask for any more than that.’’
Tentative plans are in place for Frolic to have a couple of Group 1 assignments if the comes through the Light Fingers with better than a pass mark from connections.
Sydney’s newest Group 1 race, the Surround Stakes (1400m), on March 3 would be her next port of call and the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) remains on the radar.
“There’s not many soft places to go with a filly like this,’’ O’Rourke said.
“She’s the only filly to take the scalp of She Will Reign and that’s a weighty task.’’
While all eyes are on the return of Frolic, O’Rourke hasn’t given up on former boom filly From Within who also takes her place in the Light Fingers.
She ran a race best last 600m of 32.60 (Punters Intel) to be narrowly beaten by Pendeloque at Randwick a month ago but, while he concedes she’s entitled to be an outsider, the trainer is ignoring her last start failure at Rosehill.
“We’re on level weights but there’s a big difference in the ratings from the top three down to her,’’ he said.
“The owners wanted to have a crack and see if we can run into a place and get some black type.
“It’s the first time she’s drawn a good gate this prep. Her work has been good as always, she shows us plenty.
“If she can rekindle what she was doing before her last run she has to be a chance.’’
From Within is a $61 chance with TAB for the Light Fingers while Frolic is being kept safe at $12. Flight Stakes winner Alizee stifles the market as the $1.80 favourite.