Homebody Hurtle Myrtle will be in unfamiliar territory when she chases a second stakes success in Saturday’s Group Two Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm.
Her trip to Scone for last month’s Dark Jewel Classic, in which she finished fifth to Shannara, was her first start outside Sydney.
The mare is on the road again this week, leaving her Warwick Farm stables on Thursday night bound for Brisbane and her first interstate assignment.
“She hasn’t travelled much so it will be good for her to get up there and have a change of environment,” trainer Matthew Smith said.
The 1400-metre race for fillies and mares has attracted a capacity field of 18 plus five emergencies so Smith was delighted to draw barrier four.
He would be even happier if the track remained at its current dead rating.
“I think definitely the key to her is a bit of cut out of the ground,” Smith said.
“She didn’t appreciate the hard tracks at her first couple back.
“It is dead there at the moment, which is at least better than a good three.”
Hurtle Myrtle won the Group Two Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on a dead Randwick track in April, her third run back after almost a year on the sidelines.
Her assault on the Dane Ripper will be the second leg of a hectic 43-minute period for Smith on Saturday.
Smith has spread four of his team across three venues but they will all race within 43 minutes of one another.
Brandy Beau will kick off at Newcastle at 2.32pm (AEST) before Hurtle Myrtle steps out six minutes later followed by Hatton Garden (2.50pm) at Rosehill and Madame Papillon (3.15pm) at Newcastle.
The Gerry Harvey-owned Hatton Garden tackles the McWilliam’s Hcp (1300m), earning her shot at Saturday grade with a string of solid midweek performances.
“Her last couple in midweek grade have been very good and she looks to be an improving type,” Smith said.
“She keeps hitting the line so I’m keen to give her a shot (at Saturday level).
“I think she’ll be a nice mare next time in and with this preparation, it will toughen her up and she might even be able to take another step.”
Hatton Garden has two wins and two placings from her past four starts and relishes heavy ground.