Trainer David Payne is hoping promising filly Obvious Step ($14 on TAB) can pick up where she left off on Thursday as he prepares for an important few days for his stable at Kembla Grange.
Payne's daughter of Sidestep will make her spring return at Illawarra Turf Club after she was sent for a short break in the first week of July.
Obvious Step broke her maiden status in strong fashion on Randwick’s Kensington Track before the let-up and it was job done for her maiden campaign as a two-year-old. But Payne has wasted little time getting Obvious Step back to the races as a three and he will send the filly to contest a competitive Budgong Class 1 Handicap (1200m).
“She is very well in herself and we expect her to be competitive again,” Payne said. “There looks to be a couple of nice horses there so we will just see how she goes.”
The run will help Payne determine what to do next with Obvious Step, which holds a nomination for the Group 1 Flight Stakes alongside her stable Montefilia, who is one of the favourites for the fillies feature.
Montefilia ($10) will line up in Saturday’s Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) in her final lead-up for the Group 1.
“Obvious Step probably isn’t as good as Montefilia so the Flight Stakes has been ruled out," Payne said. "We will see how she goes on Thursday where she should run well and then we will plan a path for her after that.
“It looks like she has found a good race there are Kembla Grange but if she behaves herself there is no doubt she will be competitive.”
Obvious Step wears the same orange, pale blue and white silks as her classy stablemate Montefilia but she’s otherwise a very different filly to her stablemate: “She is not as passive as Montefilia, who is quiet as a lamb but this girl is a bit more highly strung,” he said.
Obvious Step made her debut at Kembla as a two-year-old and Payne gave the filly three starts, which culminated with a victory in metropolitan grade in July. Payne has given her one quiet trial in preparation for her first three-year-old start.
Unbeaten gallopers Bethencourt ($3 favourite), trained by Kim Waugh, and the Joseph Pride-trained Patrolling ($3.40) are the horses to beat in the 1200m test. The first at Kembla Grange jumps at 1.25pm on Thursday.