Trainer Shane Nichols is banking on home track advantage being the key when Annabeth makes her debut at Mornington.
Nichols had the option to run the two-year-old at Flemington on Saturday in a race won by St Edward’s Crown, but reasoned Monday’s Mornington Nissan Handicap to be a better option.
Annabeth drew barrier one at both venues and Nichols also felt the shorter race at Mornington would be more beneficial.
While Annabeth has not been seen at the official trials, she has been given plenty of experience in local jump-outs.
“She’s a very nice filly and she trialled up well at Pakenham, winning her jump-out in decisive fashion,” Nichols said.
“I think she will be better off around the corner at Mornington over the 1000 metres rather than down the straight over 1100 metres, especially at her first start when she’s never seen the straight course.
“Also on Monday she’ll have the rail to guide her.”
Nichols went to $160,000 to buy Annabeth at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale in 2018.
He said she was a nice individual who was not ready for the hustle and bustle of the early two-year-old races but he had seen her steadily develop.
“She wasn’t a cheap horse and she’s a very nice horse,” Nichols said.
“She wasn’t ready to be pressured for those races early and wasn’t going to make an early two-year-old but hopefully she’ll furnish into a pretty nice horse.
“If she has two runs now and can win one of them then she becomes a filly we can target at some of the spring races.”
Nichols is hoping the rain stays away and the Mornington track improves from heavy to soft.
Annabeth is currently a $26 chance and will be ridden by Michael Dee.
Trainer Phillip Stokes, fresh from winning Saturday’s Queensland Derby with Mr Quickie, will saddle the only previous winner, Sizzlefly, the $1.95 early favourite.