A narrow debut defeat in a midweeker has done nothing to dent Blake Spriggs’ confidence in Choice Words ahead of Saturday’s Listed Reginald Allen Handicap.
Choice Words will line up for just her second start in the Reginald Allen (1400m) at Rosehill with a Group One Flight Stakes appearance on the line.
Spriggs retains the ride on the David Vandyke-trained filly and the apprentice believes Choice Words is up for the challenge.
“In the Reginald Allen she’s going to be a very hard horse to beat and I think if she can run competitively in that she’ll be looking to go towards the Flight Stakes,” Spriggs said.
Last year Secret Admirer came off a maiden win at Canterbury to finish a luckless third in the Reginald Allen before confirming her class with victory in the Flight Stakes a week later.
Choice Words did plenty of work to lead on debut at Canterbury before going down narrowly to Reginald Allen rival Shadow West over 1200m.
“She’s a very nice filly,” Spriggs said.
“She was very impressive first-up, she jumped from barrier 11 and ran 34 (seconds) for her first 600 metres and was still there at the end.
“Even though Shadow West beat me that day I think on Saturday she’ll be a lot better for the run.”
Spriggs, who has enjoyed success on the Vandyke-trained Hidden Gem in recent months, believes the experience Choice Words gained from her first race appearance will prove crucial when she steps up in grade on Saturday.
“It was only her first start, she was very green and she straightened up with her ears pricked and didn’t really know what to do,” he said.
“I really like this filly, I think she’s on the up and is so relaxed. She doesn’t do her best unless you make her and the other day at Canterbury I think she was just waiting for the other horse and by the time she realised she had to race it had already gone past us.
“If you watch the last 50 metres she was actually taking ground off it.”
Choice Words was also among the Stan Fox Stakes acceptors but was scratched from that race in which Golden Rose winner Manawanui is the dominant favourite.
In-form filly Ingham Magic heads TAB Sportsbet’s Reginald Allen market at $4 ahead of Shadow West at $4.60 with Choice Words on the third line of betting at $6.50.
Vandyke, who only trains a small team at Warwick Farm, has the chance of a stakes double with Lamasery favourite in the Colin Stephen Quality (2400m).