The Highway race series was the advertisement which helped Mudgee trainer Cameron Crockett secure Artistic Beauty from Sydney-based owners the Hardy family.
The Hardys had previously had horses with Crockett’s father Max, but they were struck down by injury.
After they saw horses from Crockett’s stable perform well in the races for country-trained horses, Artistic Beauty along with five others were sent to the young trainer.
Artistic Beauty is entered in Saturday’s Highway Handicap at Rosehill, but Crockett believes the form out of her two first-up runs in that series is strong enough to have a crack at the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
“I’ve got a big opinion of her because she’s got a big heart – that’s the main thing,” Crockett said.
She finished fourth, less than a length from the winner at Rosehill on October 29 and grabbed the minor placing at the same track on November 12.
Crockett believes the horses in the finish of the most recent Highway are up to midweek grade.
“It’s not been a fluke that she’s finished so well around well-performed horses,” Crockett said.
Artistic Beauty gets in with 54kg, 6.5kg less than Chris Waller-trained topweight Bella Galeano and five kg lighter than Godolphin mare Raitza who is the $3.20 favourite.
Artistic Beauty is second pick at $6 and the Joe Pride-trained My Pyschiatrist, who is set to carry 59.5kg, is a $6.50 chance.
“That’s a big gap for mares, particularly mares like her,” Crockett said.
“On Saturday we can only meet them with a five-kilo spread and they’re going to be geldings.
“The mile really suits her too.”
Crockett said Artistic Beauty, who is in her second preparation for him after being transferred from Marc Conners, has shown she can improve through her five-year-old season.
“I wouldn’t say she’s immature, she eats everything but she just doesn’t quite come on,” Crockett said.
“She carries no condition. I’m just hoping over the next 12 months she’ll start to hold it a bit better.”
Among the other Hardy-owned horses in Crockett’s stable are Artistic Beauty’s half-siblings Nictock, a three-year-old gelding by Nicconi, and an unnamed two-year-old Snippetson filly.
He said those two have a more fluent action than their sister, while 10-year-old Letchworth is the elder statesman of the Hardy-Crockett partnership.