By Ray Hickson
Call it overdue, call it a consolation but trainer Jason Coyle would like to see his talented filly St Covet’s Spirit set herself up for the spring by breaking through at Randwick on Saturday.
Coyle threw the grey in the deep end during the autumn and she vindicated the trainer’s lofty view of her ability with successive Group 3 placings but the fact remains she’s still won the one race and he’d like to change that.
It’ll be only the second time since her maiden win back in September that St Covet’s Spirit has contested a non-Group race - she was narrowly beaten on the other occasion - when she lines up in the Sky Racing Active Handicap (1200m).
“In a perfect world we’d be able to get a win, get prizemoney and lift our benchmark above 80 then come back in the spring and be confident wherever we needed to go we’d be running,’’ Coyle said.
“She’s come back this preparation much stronger and has taken that step to a good level of racing.
“The flipside to that is unfortunately we’re still only a maiden winner and a stakes placed filly with a high rating.
"It’s the penalty we have had to receive from becoming a stakes placed horse.’’
St Covet’s Spirit has a 76 rating thanks to her third placing behind Rubisaki in the Group 3 James Carr Stakes (1400m) and second to Dawn Passage in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m).
That means as she drops to a fillies and mares benchmark race she’s asked to race older horses with 58.5kg but considering Coyle’s Plan A was to run in the Dark Jewel last week he won’t be using that as an excuse.
“She races the older mares with weight but we are at the right end of the season to be doing that,’’ he said.
“At the end of the day it is a Plan B because we had her nominated in the Dark Jewel and couldn’t gain a start in that race.
“It‘s probably not ideal going back to 1200m and also going a month between runs.
“There are a couple of things against her but given I expected her to run well seven days ago in a stakes race she should be running well, weather dependant, on Saturday.’’
The weather is only a small query for Coyle but he’s confident his filly, who was $4.80 favourite with TAB on Thursday, is more than capable in the wet despite what the raw stats might show.
She’s yet to be placed in five attempts on soft or heavy ground but she ran an eye-catching fifth on a heavy 8 first-up behind Rubisaki in the Group 3 PJ Bell and her previous two samples of a wet track came in Group 1 and Group 2 company behind Funstar.
St Covet's Spirit runs second in the Hawkesbury Guineas at Rosehill on April 25
“Based on her first-up run I think she gets through it fine, she ran really well against a quality filly that day,’’ he said.
“It depends how much rain we get given we are so late in the day.’’
With rain around Coyle said he’s likely to pull Insensata out of her engagement at Randwick while he’s hoping for a form reversal from Spooky Wooky in the TAB Live Vision Handicap (2000m).
The seven-year-old gelding hasn’t won for 1199 days (as at Saturday) and is a $101 rank outsider with TAB.
“He’d have to improve considerably but blinkers go on and he’s a quirky sort of hose who works very well,’’ he said.
“If the field does happen to fall away you do see those horses who look a bit out of form produce a good run.”