By Ray Hickson
There’s no better way to test out a young horse’s class than to dip their toe in the water against a field of potential stakes performers and that’s very much the situation with promising filly Shumookh.
The three-year-old made as impressive a debut as co-trainer Adrian Bott could have hoped earlier this month and he’s wasting no time in working out exactly where she stands just a few weeks out from the start of the autumn carnival.
Shumookh, a daughter of Group 1 performer Shamekha, takes on a smart field including the unbeaten D’Argento and in-form gallopers Intuition and Wooshka in the Nelune Foundation Handicap (1300m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
“She's one that will go through her grades but it's a step up for her,’’ Bott said.
“I think she will continue to improve as she gets over a bit further. She did a few things wrong on debut but she was very impressive.’’
Shumookh was able to control proceedings in her only race start, and stole a march on the chasers with an 11.45 section (Punters Intel) from the 800m to the 600m before cruising to a 2-1/4 length win.
Shumookh leads all the way to an easy debut win at Canterbury on January 10
The filly’s debut was a long time coming, she’d had seven trials dating back to September 2016 prior to finally stepping out at Canterbury on January 10.
“We’ve had to take our time and let her strengthen and mature,’’ Bott said.
“When we got to the point of getting to the races she'd lighten off in condition. But I've been pleased with her in between runs and she is certainly an improver.’’
Bott and Gai Waterhouse produce a $625,000 Redoute’s Choice filly in Premier Rose in the Australian Fire Hose Plate (1000m), a race featuring 10 first starters.
Bott said those unknowns make it hard to exude confidence but has been pleased with how the youngster has progressed since her Randwick trial win on December 29.
“We don't know how to measure up against the first starters but we're very happy with her,’’ he said.
“She's doing it all on raw ability at the moment. She's going to make a lovely filly next preparation but we're very happy with what we've seen from her in both her trials.
“She's been very professional, she just has some physical maturing to do but I think she has a lot of class and that will take her a long way.’’
Premier Rose was rated a $9 chance by TAB in a wide market. Tim Clark rides both fillies.
Meanwhile, the unbeaten Frankel three-year-old Woman, out of former star More Joyous, will have her first trial ahead of the autumn at Rosehill on Monday.
Woman has only had the one start and ran out a dominant winner at Canterbury in September.