Leading trainer Peter Moody says smart filly Curtana is on track for a crack at the Group One Stradbroke Handicap following her first-up win at Caulfield on Saturday.
Ridden by leading apprentice Jake Noonan, the daughter of Exceed And Excel ($3.40 fav) raced a bit fresh and was caught three deep in the Moorabbin Steel Plate (1000m) but was still good enough to hang on for a half-neck victory.
Breitling ($3.90), who had been gelded since his last start, was an encouraging runner-up with topweight General Truce ($4.80) three-quarters of a length away third.
“A minor injury, she bumped her leg, lengthened her spell so we missed the bulk of the autumn with her,” Moody said.
“She’s a Group One performer and we would have loved to have had her back for the autumn in Sydney, but there is no rush.
“The temptation was there to take her to the Gold Coast next Saturday and run her in the Guineas but we decided to keep her at home for this race.
“She’s still big in condition and raced a bit too fresh for her own good today but managed to win.
“There’s a nice three-year-old race at Doomben for her in three weeks and she’ll go into the Stradbroke at probably her fourth run in and the 1400 metres looks ideal for her.”
Curtana, a half-sister to the ill-fated Group Two Caulfield International Sprint winner Sunburnt Land, has now won four of her eight starts including the Listed Gucci Stakes (1200m) on Oaks day.
Moody said Curtana had already shown she was up to the best three-year-olds with her second to Star Witness in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Derby day at Flemington last spring.
“She’s certainly got a class factor about her, being Group One-placed and a stakeswinner, so I think that augurs well for her,” he said.
The $1 million Stradbroke is at Eagle Farm on June 11.