By Ray Hickson
Trainer Edward O’Rourke is well aware of the pressure on him to get two high profile fillies back to winning form in the coming months.
O’Rourke will produce the first of them - former boom filly From Within - this weekend with Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic still a month or so away from trialling.
Almost year ago, under Chris Waller’s care, From Within was a dominant debut winner as a $1.45 chance at Canterbury - beating Invader and Chauffeur - and was an early Magic Millions favourite before finishing 13th as a $4 chance.
After failing in two subsequent starts she was transferred to O’Rourke, suffered an untimely splint bone injury, and he’s gone back to the drawing board.
“My main aim is to get her back on track and going the right way,’’ he said.
“There’s a fair bit of pressure. The owners have some expectations for her but pressure is a good thing, it makes you perform.
“We are down a lot in grade and that will be a big difference to us so hopefully we can get a win on the board.’’
From Within's Randwick trial win on November 28
From Within is nominated for an 1100m fillies and mares Benchmark 70 Handicap at Canterbury on Friday night, where she’s likely to receive 60kg, and an 1100m three-year-old Benchmark 75 at Randwick on Saturday.
Canterbury is O’Rourke’s early preference and the latter race appears to have some depth with the likes of Awesome Pluck, Calculated, Another Sin and Brave Song among the nominations.
O’Rourke has given the filly two barrier trials, the latest was a come from behind win downing Arbeitsam over 1050m on November 28.
“She’s still doing an awful lot wrong, had her head in the air charging, but she has come on from that trial,’’ he said.
“She still has a lot to learn about how to race and not burning the candle at both ends.
“It was quite obvious in her previous races, her last start in the Kindergarten wasn’t as bad but when she ran against Frolic in the Reisling she just charged the whole way in front.
“The main thing is to teach her to settle, relax and hit the line strongly. If she continues to race the way she has been she won’t finish off her races.
“We’re dropping back in grade and it’s all about confidence. We want to teach her how to win again.’’
Blake Shinn has done a lot of the work on From Within, including riding in both trials, but with Shinn suspended Kerrin McEvoy will be the pilot on Friday night.
“Kerrin has come in to ride her work since we knew Blake was suspended and he’s quite pleased with her,’’ O’Rourke said.
Meanwhile, Frolic recently returned to O’Rourke’s Randwick stable after another short break and is building up to a likely return in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) in February.
The Slipper runner-up hasn’t raced since the Sires’ Produce in April, where she ran seventh, and has had bone chips removed.
“She’s back in and is coming along nicely and will trial towards the end of January,’’ he said.