By Ray Hickson
Trainer Matt Dale is well aware speedy mare Sei Stella’s lone failure came on the Kensington track but he’s decided a second shot is warranted on Saturday.
Dale was considering saving the four-year-old for a 1000m race on the course proper next Saturday.
But he says there were enough excuses for that failure over 1100m back in April to give her the chance to atone and set up an intriguing clash with another in-form speedster in Heart Conquered in the Summer Racing Sprint (1000m).
“That run has been in the back of my mind but it was at the end of her first racing prep and she's a lot more seasoned mare now,’’ Dale said.
“She went too bad to be true and I turned her out after it.
“I’d prefer it to be on the course proper because she’s two from two on it. (The Kensington) is a slight question mark but she’s done well between runs.’’
Sei Stella has made easy work of successive Highway races at Randwick, in September and December, and is the $3.90 second favourite behind Heart Conquered ($2.90) with TAB.
Sei Stella wins easily at Randwick on December 15
Both horses have led all the way to their recent 1000m victories with Heart Conquered’s coming on heavy tracks at Warwick Farm.
Dale said he expects Sei Stella to take advantage of drawing inside her major rival and the 4kg he has to spot her.
“It can be a plus and sometimes it can be a negative because you have pressure outside you,’’ he said.
“It’ll be a big change from Highway grade pressure but she’s at the stage now where she has to have a go.
“We’ve come through the grades and now she has to stand up to benchmark grade.
“There was an option for her next week if I wanted to wait but that would’ve been a month between runs off a freshen. She’s done really well, is jumping out of her skin and she’s ready to go back to the races.’’
Sei Stella was Dale’s 12th Highway winner so he’ll be aiming for the baker’s dozen when a rejuvenated Te Ata tackles the day’s TAB Highway (1300m) off an easy Canberra win.
He attributes the mare’s change of fortunes to doing things a bit differently between runs.
“She’s been frustrating all preparation, she’s always shown she has more ability than we see,’’ he said.
“The first time I’ve seen her let fully down was last Friday afer changing her routine around.
“We’ve kept the same routine into Saturday. You can get them to run really well once, sometimes it’s a one hit wonder and sometimes they get the confidence to go on with it.’’
Dale has both Super Star Bob and Animalia engaged in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1550m) and said the former is likely to take his place with the latter saved for Monday’s Moruya meeting.
Super Star Bob went within a close margin of giving Dale a treble at Randwick on December 15 and cracking a run of outs stretching back to September last year.
The gelding, an early $4.20 TAB favourite, ran a race best last 600m of 35.82 on a soft track (Punters Intelligence) while encountering some traffic problems.
“Off his run the other day he deserves another crack at Saturday. He gets a good draw and Hugh Bowman so that’s our likely option,’’ Dale said.
“He’s had a go at the Kensington track which I think is important and the 1550m seems to suit.’’