By Ray Hickson
Trainer John Thompson sees no reason why smart mare Fituese can’t keep her unbeaten first-up record intact when she returns at Rosehill on Saturday.
The four-year-old is three from three when Thompson has produced her fresh and she was able to beat Masked Crusader into third place at the start of her last campaign over the Rosehill 1100m.
Fituese has had bone chips removed from her near fore knee since she was unplaced in Melbourne at her last run in the spring but the trainer says she’s come back as well as ever.
“She chipped her knee in her last run at Flemington on a hard track,’’ Thompson said.
“It was the one bad run she’s had but she’s had the chip out and she’s 100 per cent and going well.
“She could easily win again, she looks good and I’m happy with her.”
Six of Fituese’s 11 starts have resulted in wins and Thompson said the Listed $140,000 Kia Ora Stud Ortensia Stakes (1100m) will be the start of a likely brief preparation which, if successful, will encourage him to raise the bar in the spring.
Like last campaign the mare has trialled once in the build up to a first-up run and she went down narrowly to Bulletin in a 737m heat at Randwick on May 3.
“Rachel (King) has ridden her a couple of times in her work and in the trial and says she feels great,’’ Thompson said.
“Her trial was good the other day and I think she’s a nice mare, one of those mares who gives you 100 per cent each time she races. She’s foolproof, she can go forward or back.
“She could easily go to a higher level, she’s a good mare and she’s got the talent. She’s just got to get back and get racing again.”
Fituese won the Denise’s Joy at the corresponding meeting last year and was vying for favouritism at $3.90 with TAB on Thursday.
Stablemate Supremo steps up from an easy first-up maiden win into the $300,000 Inglis Guineas (1400m) and Thompson said it wouldn’t surprise if he measures up.
The runaway Warwick Farm win on April 28 was Supremo’s first run as a gelding and the Randwick trainer says he’s not overly concerned about a wet track.
“I don’t think it matters, I think he gets through it okay but he’s a different horse since he’s been gelded,’’ he said.
“That was confirmed in his first-up run, he did everything right. I think he will improve once he gets out to a mile and 1400m second-up is good.
“(Prime Star and Exoboom) they’re promising horses but they are beatable, he obviously has to improve but if he does he’ll be thereabouts.”
Supremo was a $17 chance on Thursday and Rachel King also partners him at Rosehill.
Fituese runs second in a trial at Randwick on May 3
And Thompson said he has plenty of time for two-year-old filly Xtremetime ($12) who also comes off a maiden win into the Listed $140,000 Turangga Farm Woodlands Stakes (1100m).
She led all the way to beat subsequent winner Socialist at Canterbury and, according to Thompson, has the race smarts to overcome an awkward alley.
“She’s pretty tractable, in her first run last prep she came from the back and ran well. She led and won well the other day,’’ he said.
“I think she’s a classy filly and has a very bright future. That little bit of class will take her a long way.”