Autumn ambitions for Lady Selkirk go on trial at Sandown where the mare chases the first win of her campaign.
Lady Selkirk showed her promise with back-to-back city wins at the tail end of last season in a three-year-old open handicap and the Silver Bowl Series Final, both over 1600m at Flemington.
The Matthew Williams-trained mare has not been able to add to her winning tally from three subsequent starts and her trainer has opted to take the blinkers off for Wednesday’s Splashland Handicap over 1600m.
The four-year-old has had worn blinkers in her past two starts for a minor placing at Flemington and a disappointing fifth as favourite in a fillies and mares benchmark-84 at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
“I’ve taken the blinkers off her because she just wanted to over-race with them last start,” Williams said.
“All last preparation she raced with winkers on and was performing well so we thought we’d go back to that, get her to switch off, settle, and hopefully she’ll finish off like she used to.”
Williams has plans to target mares’ stakes races with Lady Selkirk in Melbourne later this campaign, but that will hinge on how she performs on Wednesday.
“The plan was to give her a little break for a fortnight in the paddock and come back for the autumn,” he said.
“She probably needs to win on Wednesday to give us a bit of confidence going towards the autumn, otherwise we might have to think about lowering our sights a little bit.”
Lady Selkirk is the $2.50 favourite in the field of seven which includes comeback stayer Manapine who ran on for an encouraging fourth over 1600m at Sandown on December 24 at his first start for a year.
Lady Selkirk has barrier two with apprentice Ben Thompson to ride, and Williams says the signs are positive.
“She’s seems well at home and is doing enormous,” he said.
“We were happy with her first two runs this time in. it was just that one run last start when she just didn’t run the race right out which just starts to put a question mark in your mind.”