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Monegal will follow a unique but proven formula when she races twice in five days

Theresa Bateup and her hardy mare Monegal are in for a busy week but if history can repeat, it will all be worthwhile.

Monegal will step out in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday before backing up five days later in the Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) where she will attempt to qualify for The Big Dance.

The tight schedule wasn’t originally in the plans and is due to last Saturday’s Randwick wash-out, which resulted in the feature race being pushed back seven days and shifted to Rosehill.

But having two runs in less than seven days is unlikely to worry Monegal, whose biggest win came under similar circumstances in the Group 3 Epona Stakes during the autumn.

“It has tightened things up a little bit with that race being moved back, but she has done the five-day back-up before,” Bateup said.

“She went from the Canberra Cup to the Epona and that worked quite well.”

Also in Monegal’s favour is the change of venue.

The mare is a three-time winner at Rosehill, the scene of her Epona Stakes triumph, and Bateup is hopeful the addition of on-pace runner Cross Talk to Saturday’s rejigged Winter Challenge field will inject some speed into the race.

If it is run at a genuine tempo, Bateup has no doubt Monegal can improve on her past two unplaced performances, which have both had merit.

“Her last couple of runs, although on paper they don’t stand out, I have been happy with her efforts,” Bateup said.

“The pace of the race (last start) wasn’t as solid as we anticipated and when they sprinted, they left her flat-footed, but her last 100 was really good.

“With one of Gai (Waterhouse’s) in it, this race on Saturday looks to have a little more speed on paper than what last Saturday’s race did.”

Brock Ryan has the Winter Challenge ride on Monegal and will also partner her in Thursday’s $150,000 Coffs Harbour Cup.

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