By Ray Hickson
It's not normal practice for Les Bridge to trial a horse four days before a race but in the case of promising mare Seasons it means she won't be lacking in fitness for her return at Rosehill on Saturday.
What is normal for Bridge, though, is he never makes grand declarations about his horses until they've earned their stripes.
In the case of Seasons, who runs in the Australian Turf Club Sprint (1200m), the mare has had four starts for two wins and two seconds and, talented as she looks, Bridge said she's not ready for the big time yet.
"You're a rooster one day and a feather duster the next in this game,'' Bridge said.
"You're only as good as your next win, she's promising but they have to go up in grade.
"I've had a lot of good mares and they get better as they get older, the good ones race until they are six or seven so she has a long way to go.
"At the moment she's promising but whether she's a stakes filly she'll tell us."
Watch for Seasons down the outside in her trial at Canterbury on Tuesday
Seasons was favourite at $2.30 on Thursday with TAB to take that next step up in grade in her stride on the back of the eye-catching trial and after drawing ideally in gate two.
Bridge scratched her a week ago from her planned return due to a wide gate and the trial basically served as her final gallop.
The four-year-old worked home under a hold from jockey Tim Clark to run third in her 900m heat at Canterbury on Tuesday.
Although Bridge isn't keen to label her anything more than promising at this stage, when asked what he expects to see on Saturday he was quite clear.
"She should get the run of the race from there and I think she will win,'' he said.
"I don't usually trial that close but we've had disruptions with the training tracks so I gave her the trial to make sure she is nice and fit.
"They are barrier trials, I never get carried away. When you see the replay there's five on the bit but she was good.''
Among Bridge's string of smart mares over the years are superstar Hot Danish, Miss Zoe and Avoid Lightning to name just a few, not to mention his feats with the boys including a Golden Slipper with Sir Dapper and a Melbourne Cup with Kensei.
So he has plenty of measuring sticks when it comes to lining Seasons up.
"She's a promising mare, she's taken a while to fill out and she's probably not there yet,'' he said.
"She's been a slow maturer, that's why I didn't race her early, and what she does on Saturday will tell us the story.''
Bridge said stablemate Slow Burn, who finished alongside Seasons in the trial, will contest a fillies and mares benchmark 88 at Rosehill on Saturday week.