Underwood Stakes runner-up Southern Speed has been entered in Friday night’s JRA Cup as insurance against missing a start in the star-studded Turnbull Stakes.
Co-trainer Leon Macdonald said he feared the mare could miss out on a berth in Sunday’s Group One race at Flemington given the proposed list of horses vying for positions.
Southern Speed’s second to Lion Tamer on September 17 came a week after she finished an unlucky fourth in the Stocks Stakes, a race which is shaping as a crucial guide to the spring.
It was won by King’s Rose from Pinker Pinker with Saturday’s Caulfield winners Platinum Passion and Midnight Martini both behind Southern Speed.
“There could be two divisions of the Turnbull the way things are going,” Macdonald said.
“If she gets in, then that’s where she will run but I’ve put her in the JRA Cup just in case.
“Craig Williams has been booked to ride her in the Turnbull but I haven’t decided on a jockey if she runs on Friday.”
Macdonald was not happy with Dan Nikolic’s Underwood ride, believing he went too soon on Southern Speed leaving her vulnerable to the attack which came from Lion Tamer.
The Adelaide trainer is keen to get Southern Speed up in distance as he aims her towards the Cox Plate (2040m) and/or perhaps the Caulfield Cup (2400m).
The only time she has gone over 2000 metres she finished third in the Schweppes Oaks at Morphettville won by Lights Of Heaven from subsequent AJC Australian Oaks winner Absolutely.
“I’m not sure if she’s a Caulfield Cup horse but she only had 50 kilos in it so the option is there if it looks like she can get the distance,” he said.
“The Cox Plate is there as well. I just hope she can go on with what she showed in the Underwood.
“She should have won that race, it was a bad ride.”
There were 20 entries taken on Monday for the JRA Cup including 2009 winner Alcopop, Caulfield Cup favourite December Draw and 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient.
Southern Speed’s stablemate Majestic Music found herself with nowhere to go late in Saturday’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes when she finished fourth behind Toorak Toff.
She will now take on the winner again in the Toorak Handicap in a couple of weeks.