Jacqui’s Joy faces a steep class rise as she attempts to keep her unbeaten Australian record intact at Flemington.
The former New Zealand filly won her Australian debut at Kilmore before graduating to successive wins at Caulfield over summer.
She now steps up to Group Two level in the Kewney Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
Co-trainer Mitchell Beer had his hopes dented somewhat when Jacqui’s Joy drew barrier 15 in the 16 horse field.
“Saturday’s probably going to be the hardest run for her this time in,” Beer said.
“She’s got barrier 15 and she’s kicking off in the deep end against some quality opposition, but we’ve got some pretty nice plans for her.”
Beer has the Alexandra Stakes at Moonee Valley on March 24 pencilled in after which a decision will be made on whether to head to Adelaide or Brisbane.
The Group Three Auraria Stakes at Morphettville on April 23 followed by the Group One Australasian Oaks on May 7 are the favoured targets for Beer and training parner Max Hinton.
However if the filly shows she won’t get over a distance, Beer said she could be freshened for a Brisbane trip over winter.
And he said wet ground in Brisbane could be in her favour as she has raced well in heavy conditions in New Zealand.
Jacqui’s Joy won a Cranbourne trial on February 22 and headed to Sandown on Tuesday for a gallop under race jockey Patrick Moloney.
“Patrick said she was full of beans and wouldn’t have blown a candle out after a pretty solid gallop,” Beer said.
“She’s had the perfect preparation leading into autumn.
“We managed to get her rating up high enough to get into all these races and then able to then back off.
“She’s going into Saturday with the mental condition of being first-up but she’s got residual fitness on her side as well.”
Jacqui’s Joy is an $11 chance in early markets with Don’t Doubt Mamma and Catch A Fire sharing favouritism at $4.80.
First bet matched with up to $600 in Bonus Bets!*