By Ray Hickson
In Her Time is arguably the best horse in Australia not to have a Group 1 against her name and trainer Ben Smith says the mare is showing signs that will change in 2018.
The five-year-old is still in the early stages of her autumn preparation, with a resumption not pencilled in until March, but has put on 30kg in her break.
And Smith said he’s confident In Her Time’s hoof issues are now behind her – she’s often raced in bar plates - after they cost her a start in the Darley Classic in November.
“She’s been back a few weeks now and her rider says she feels a lot sharper and stronger, although we haven’t done any pace or gallop work yet she’s a lot keener in her work,’’ Smith said.
“We just had to leave her out a bit longer than we normally do to get the hoof growth back. That’s all good now and it’s just a matter of getting her right and back to the races.’’
In Her Time wins the Sydney Stakes on Everest Day at Randwick
The ultimate autumn aim for In Her Time is the Group 1 $2.5m TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships but he’s yet to lock in a start point.
The Group 1 Galaxy (1100m) on Golden Slipper Day (March 24) is on the radar for that first-up run but In Her Time is still between four and six weeks from being ready to trial.
“I’m going to take my time with her, whether she has one or two runs before the TJ I’m not sure,’’ he said.
“She may even kick off in the Galaxy, depending on what weight we end up getting.
“She does get herself fit pretty quick, we could even have a run before that. If we go to something like the Galaxy we will try and get two trials into her.”
The mare won the Premiere Stakes first-up in the spring then the Sydney Stakes on Everest Day before a close second to Hey Doc in the Manikato Stakes, finishing ahead of Viddora.
That horse has since won the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes and the Magic Millions Snippets and the improvement she’s shown is not lost on Smith.
“I followed Viddora because she ran behind us in Melbourne and she’s come out and gone to the next level,’’ he said.
“Hopefully we are not too far behind and she can have a bit of luck and the Group 1 doesn’t elude us much longer.
“She’s well and truly justified she’s a top-level horse and it’d be great for her, she’s deserved of a Group 1.’’
Like Viddora’s trainer Lloyd Kennewell, Smith is keen to attract interest from slot holders in the $13m The Everest in the spring but said a host of other races are on the drawing board before then.
“We were so close last year and hopefully the right opportunity presents itself this year,’’ he said.
“Post Sydney there’s a few options for us, there could be a possible European trip or the Brisbane winter.’’
Meanwhile, Smith takes in-form galloper Tabrobane to Canterbury on Friday night following a game win at Tamworth on January 5.
The six-year-old is a city winner, having scored at Canterbury 18 months ago, and Smith said he’s earned a start in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1250m).
“He’s been running consistently his last five or six runs and is in the right race, he’s drawn well and it’s just a matter of whether he’s classy enough for it,’’ Smith said.
“A small field will help him and hopefully he runs well.’’