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Embrace Make Or Break For Sargent Filly's Slipper Hopes

By Ray Hickson

It’s the Golden Slipper or bust for promising filly Four Moves Ahead.

Trainer John Sargent.

Trainer John Sargent is likely to look at other targets for the youngster if she doesn’t take out Saturday’s Group 2 $200,000 Drinkwise Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) at Randwick – which she needs to do to book a spot in next month’s Group 1.

He said it’d be too big an ask to back the filly up again prior to the Slipper.

“She’ll either make it or break it, she won’t run again,’’ he said.

“We’ll give it a good go and see what happens. I think there is more to her than a two-year-old career, I think she will be a super three-year-old as well.

“I think she’s just going to get better or better like her sister (Emeralds) so I don’t want to over tax her.”

It’s three weeks until the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper at Rosehill and Four Moves Ahead is on the $17 line in TAB’s all-in market.

Four Moves Ahead was an impressive debut winner back in early January and, after recovering from a cold, was due to run in last week’s Silver Slipper, where she was a short priced favourite, but a minor knee knock ruled her out and forced Sargent to refocus once again.

“You could see with the betting she was a strong favourite and it was perfect but that’s racing,’’ he said.

“We have to move on and go to the next stage, hopefully we can get over that hurdle on Saturday.”

Importantly Sargent said Four Moves Ahead, who opened $3.30 favourite with TAB, has taken no harm from last week’s mishap and won’t be offering any excuses.

“She galloped very well on the Kenso with Nash Rawiller on board over a half a mile and she seems back to where she was,’’ he said.

Sargent said her elder half-sister Emeralds is right on target for her Group 1 Coolmore Classic mission next month.

After a slashing first-up third in the weight-for-age Expressway Stakes a month ago the four-year-old is back against the mares in the Group 2 $200,000 Guy Walter Proven Thoroughbreds Stakes (1400m).

Punter’s Intelligence sectional data shows the mare posted the meeting’s fastest last 600m, running 34.06, first-up.

“She’s come up stronger in the autumn,’’ he said.

“She’s drawn the outside but it doesn’t worry her style of racing, we’ll go back and give her a good chance of getting them down the outside late.”

Emeralds, $8 on Wednesday, went back to the trials last week to pass the time between runs and Sargent said is has brought her on fitness wise.

Elizabeel surprised a few with her close up fourth in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) on a soft 7 two weeks ago and Sargent warns she shouldn’t be underestimated on Saturday – assuming the track is no worse than in the soft range.

Four Moves Ahead's debut win at Kensington on January 2

It’s a tough ask for any filly to win the Group 1 $500,000 Cellarbrations Surround Stakes (1400m) given the quality of the field but Sargent is clearly rapt with Elizabeel.

“She’s an under rated filly this and her work on Tuesday was excellent,’’ he said.

“She’ll roll over and be in the first half dozen but she needs some luck with the weather.

“She’s better on top of the ground but she’ll be going around and she will give a good account of herself.

“She has a good turn of foot so she’s not one to slog through a wet track. If it’s in the deep heavy range it’s quite hard for her.”

Elizabeel was a $51 chance first-up and opened $21 with TAB in the Surround.

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's meeting at Royal Randwick

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