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Clarry Conners has engaged Lisa Cropp to take over the reins on brilliant filly Satin Shoes who takes on a hot field of older sprinters at weight-for-age in Saturday’s McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Conners was forced to look for a lightweight rider to replace Michael Rodd who couldn’t make the weight in the 1000-metre Group Three feature in which he will be aboard the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shrapnel.

Rodd rode the filly when she won first-up in the Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield and when she was caught out three wide from the outside barrier and weakened to finish eighth to Golden Archer in the McNeil Stakes (1200m) at the same track.

“It’s probably a harder race than what I thought it was going to be. The distance suits her. Lisa Cropp will ride her at 50kg. It’s a nice comfortable weight for her,” Conners said.

“She’ll be very competitive. She worked really nicely at the Valley on Tuesday morning (with Eight Bills) so I couldn’t be happier with her.

“I think it was important for her have a look at the Valley and for Lisa to ride her even though I had to bring her from Geelong to do it.

“Lisa said she was glad she rode her because she felt as though she was going through her gears and that’s what Michael Rodd said when he rode her for the first time too.

“He said she tricked him so it will be beneficial for Lisa to have ridden her.

“She’s just got to let her run along.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Freedman is optimistic that First Command can run well first-up from a throat operation for a breathing problem.

“I am happy with him and at this stage the op seems to have been a success,” Freedman said.

“He is forward enough to run well but it is a very hot race and I expect him to get beaten a bit for speed.

“I would like to see him strong to the line and then go to a Listed 1200-metre race (Testa Rossa Stakes) in two weeks at Caulfield where he is very good.”

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