Quality mare Rising Romance will wear a barrier blanket when she begins her autumn campaign in the CF Orr Stakes.
The Lindsay Park-trained five-year-old passed a test with the barrier blanket at Flemington last Friday and that will be part of her starting gear in Saturday’s Group One race over 1400m at Caulfield.
Rising Romance, the 2014 ATC Australian Oaks winner and Caulfield Cup runner-up, will be having her first start since finishing at the tail of the field in the Sandown Classic (2400m) in November.
Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said the stable had considered using a barrier blanket during her last preparation.
“She’s always been a little bit fractious in the gates,” he said.
“But we didn’t put her in one last preparation because we didn’t want to trial her mid-preparation.”
Dabernig said the mare was better behaved in the gates with the barrier blanket.
Prepared by Donna Logan when she won the Oaks and when finishing second in the Caulfield Cup, Rising Romance was transferred to David Hayes and Dabernig last spring.
While winless in six starts for the pair, Rising Romance finished second in two Group One contests at Flemington.
Fawkner, also nominated for the Orr Stakes, had her measure in the Makybe Diva Stakes in September while Gailo Chop defeated her in the Mackinnon Stakes.
Rising Romance had her first start for the Lindsay Park operation finishing sixth to Boban in the Memsie Stakes over Saturday’s course and distance.
“She seems to have come back really well,” Dabernig said.
“She was in season a little bit during the spring.
“Hopefully in the autumn when their hormones are not like what they are in the spring she will still be capable of winning a good race.”
Dabernig said Rising Romance is being aimed at the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12 after which she will head to Sydney.
Craig Williams will miss the ride having an appeal dismissed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Tuesday over the severity of a careless riding suspension.
Damian Lane regains the ride after partnering Rising Romance in five of her six runs last campaign.