By Ray Hickson
Trainer Mark Newnham believes he has consistent filly Star Sensation in better shape going into a first-up run at Rosehill on Saturday than ever before.
But it’s the fact she’s never won first-up that has Newnham erring on the conservative side ahead of #Theraces Handicap (1200m).
“She has done more going into this run than first-up last time so I'd say she'll be pretty close to the mark but her form tells you she improves into her prep,’’ he said.
Star Sensation has only missed a place once in her nine starts and that was her only attempt on a heavy track.
She’s only had the two first-up attempts, on debut she was a narrow second at Kembla Grange and last time in she ran third at Canterbury.
Star Sensation's barrier trial at Warwick Farm on April 20
Newnham has given the filly three barrier trials to prepare for her post-carnival return, which is a similar build-up to that last preparation.
“She takes a fair while to get fit and she's come back a bit bigger again,’’ Newnham said.
“She's not a tall mare but is quite solidly built. What you see is what you get with her, she's just really genuine.
“Everything she does she does to her best, whether it's work, trials or races.’’
Star Sensation didn’t wear her blinkers in her latest trial, a second to Art Of Excellence at Warwick Farm on April 20, but will be sporting them on Saturday.
Newnham said the six horse field presents an ideal first-up scenario for the filly, $3.50 with TAB on Thursday.
“She hasn't won first-up before but she has run well both times. Wherever she finishes she'll keep improving,’’ he said.
“She's owned by a big syndicate so prizemoney is the ultimate goal at the moment.
“If she's good enough we might find a race in Queensland for her.’’
Meanwhile, Newnham said former promising youngster Diamond Tathagata will be off the scene for a while after suffering an injury at his last start.
Placed behind She Will Reign on debut then winner of the Group 2 Skyline Stakes at his second start, Diamond Tathagata has struggled to regain form and could well be in for a gear change while spelling.
“He's had a hind leg injury so he's in the paddock for a while and hopefully he returns as a gelding,’’ Newnham said.