By Ray Hickson
Her spring ended in a nightmare but Dame Giselle is tracking very much to co-trainer Peter Snowden’s liking as she zeroes in on a Group 1 target next month.
The star filly won’t be at her peak for Saturday’s $1m Inglis Sprint (1200m) at Royal Randwick - Snowden said she’s about 90 per cent fit and “one or two runs will bring her right on” – but she’s been underestimated before.
Dame Giselle raced in the shadow of the boom on Hungry Heart in the spring but lowered her colours twice before an unlucky fourth in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and this time around the Group 1 winning colt Ole Kirk will be the one capturing the attention.
“She’s not fully wound up at all yet but she’s forward enough from what I’ve seen in her work and her trial,’’ Snowden said.
“There’s good speed in the race, so hopefully we get that nice sit behind them.”
The Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 13 has been earmarked as the three-year-old’s ‘grand final’ and she signalled how well she’s come up in her only trial.
That was behind Nature Strip and Bivouac in a 900m heat on January 27 and it couldn’t have gone any more to the stable’s plan.
“She stayed on the back of those horses, they are the two best there are, and she was a length and a half behind them and doing it comfortably,’’ Snowden said.
“I said to Tommy (Berry) I want a nice trial and just keep a length up her sleeve.
“She had a good gallop on Tuesday morning, as I said not fully wound up but done enough to run well.”
"She had a really good prep in the spring, (the Flight) was just a nightmare, and a race like the Coolmore is a perfect race for her."
TAB has marked Dame Giselle $3.70 second favourite on Thursday behind Ole Kirk ($2.40) while her stablemate Rule Of Law ($26) is somewhat unwanted despite a big effort in defeat when he resumed two weeks ago.
Snowden said he was rapt with the colt’s effort when run down by Rocketing By over 1100m and he shouldn’t be underestimated despite facing his biggest test.
“He’s a horse that will get better and better, he got softened up all the way the other day and was a sitting shot to get run down but he gave a good kick,’’ he said.
“Last time he kept improving from one run to the next and I’m confident he will run a good race in a good field. He’s not a bad horse, you certainly haven’t seen the best of him yet.”
Written Tycoon colt Conglomerate is set to make his debut in the Darley Lonhro Plate (1000m) on the back of an easy trial win at Gosford last month.
Dame Giselle runs third in a trial at Rosehill on January 27
While the youngster has a wide gate to contend with Snowden said it’s an undesirable scenario but a good opportunity to assess where Conglomerate stands.
“Good horses run well when they shouldn’t run well,’’ he said.
“It’s going to be hard to jump and lead off the one trial so he is a little bit vulnerable.
“If he runs a nice fourth or fifth we know he’s a nice horse but not an absolute A-grader. But if he comes out and wins he’s an A grader because he can improve a lot more from where he is now.”
Conglomerate, $8 with TAB, was a $350,000 yearling and has James McDonald to ride.