Impressive mare Conferre will be out to maintain a winning streak in the Ascend Handicap at Sandown on Wednesday.
Conferre edged out Rock Robster by a slender margin at Moonee Valley two weeks ago – her third win in a row – and is poised to repeat the performance when they clash over 2400m.
Trainer Robert Smerdon said that Conferre should have the edge from barrier one – with Rock Robster jumping from gate seven – but described the race as “a good battle”.
“She’s been in good form,” Smerdon said. “Obviously she’s won her last three so since she’s got up to a distance she’s become very effective.
“She won over 2400 (metres) at Pakenham and then again at Bendigo and dropped back to 2000 (metres) at the Valley.
“It was a good effort coming back in distance so the 2400 tomorrow is a good race for her.”
Smerdon said the mare had not needed much more than a tune-up ahead of the Sandown meeting.
“She’s a very good horse, she doesn’t take much between races,” he said.
“She’s just been maintained with steady pace work because she only raced 10 days ago,” he said.
After an intensive campaign, Conferre will probably earn a break after Wednesday.
“She’s had a bit of solid racing so it depends how she stands up to it,” Smerdon said.
Smerdon also has the four-year-old Whitten Oval running in the Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap (1200m) but, despite a bright start to his current preparation, Smerdon believes barrier 13 might be too much for the gelding.
“He trialled really well two weeks ago at Cranbourne. He won his trial and it was a really good effort.
“The barrier is going to make it difficult for him though, an outside barrier first-up at 1200 (metres) is going to make it a bit of a tough ask,” Smerdon said.