Booker gave her jockey an early indication that she could be effective over the Thousand Guineas distance and she gets the chance to prove it in the Group One race for fillies.
The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Booker steps to 1600m for the first time in Saturday’s $500,000 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield after narrowly winning the 1400m Prelude last start.
Booker will again be ridden by Dwayne Dunn who has been aboard in the filly’s three races this spring for a second in the McNeil Stakes, third in the Danehill Stakes and victory in the Thousand Guineas Prelude.
“Dwayne trialled her for us about two months ago and got off and said she felt like a miler,” Zahra said.
“We were happy to go towards this race instead of keeping her to the sprints.
“Dwayne has had a fair bit to do with where she’s got to and hopefully we can get the Group One on the board.”
Booker is on the third line of betting at $6.50 in a field of eight.
Godolphin’s Alizee is the $2.15 favourite after impressive recent wins in the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Group One Flight Stakes (1600m) in Sydney, with Shoals at $4.
Booker raced outside the lead in the Prelude before holding off Shoals and Catchy.
Shoals has blinkers replacing winkers for the first time while Catchy will take on the colts and geldings in the Caulfield Guineas 2017.
From the outside barrier co-trainer Zahra anticipates Booker will roll forward with Leather’n’lace immediately to her inside and sit on the pace.
“Obviously Alizee was a pretty big run the other day and Shoals has done nothing wrong either,” Zahra said.
“Leather’n’lace is on the way up.
“It’s not easy and it’s going to be a tough ask but I think we’ve got the right filly.”
Dunn said he liked Booker’s style from when he first rode her in the jump-out.
“I’ve always pushed hard to go the Thousand Guineas way and as it’s turned out she has run really well leading into it,” he said.
“Catchy beat us down the straight (two starts ago) and then she ran really well at Caulfield last start. I think she deserves to be one of the main chances.”