Unbeaten filly Wawail is on a path to bigger fillies races during the autumn and takes those first steps at Flemington on Saturday.
The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained filly lines-up in the Pack A Picnic Plate over 1100m with the training duo looking for more black type from the daughter of Lonhro.
What has Dabernig excited is the look in the coat of the filly.
Wawail hasn’t raced since winning the Listed Twilight Glow over 1400m at Sandown last November.
While Dabernig thinks Wawail can measure up to the better fillies, the stable has also nominated her for the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and the Australian Guineas (1600m) in March.
“We think she’s a really smart filly,” Dabernig said.
“She never looked quite right in the spring as she struggled to lose her winter coat but she still raced well and to us she could have looked a bit better.
“Through the easy time and the build up she looks great now.”
Dabernig said the filly trialled well over 850m at Tatura on January 12 and has progressed nicely since in her work.
He did say the 1100m up the straight was probably not ideal.
“She’s probably not an out and out sprinter but I couldn’t be happier going into her first-up run,” Dabernig said.
Dabernig said the Group Three Vanity (1400m) on February 21 or the Group Two Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield a week later looked suitable races if she runs well on Saturday but said she had been nominated in the bigger races to cover all bases.
Wawail is currently the $2.70 favourite in early betting.
Also having his first run back from a spring campaign is fellow three-year-old Firehouse Rock who Dabernig said probably didn’t run the trip when 11th to Preferment in the Victoria Derby.
“I think he’s a mile to 1800 metres sort of horse,” Dabernig said.
“He’s had a great prep and he’s a horse that has had that benefit of racing through the spring.
“I think he’s come back and improved a little bit.”
Firehouse Rock runs in the Flemington Rose Garden Handicap (1420m) and is currently a $13 chance in early betting.