Mat Ellerton is not sure that dual Group One winner Response can turn the tables on star Sydney mare More Joyous despite having the better of the barrier draw in Saturday’s Myer Classic.
Response drew perfectly in gate three while the Gai Waterhouse-trained More Joyous has to contend with barrier 13 in the 16-horse field plus one emergency.
Last start Response finished strongly from 10th in running after drawing wide to finish 1-1/4 lengths third to the More Joyous in the Group Two Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 15.
Nash Rawiller, who won on More Joyous, cast some doubt on the mare being at her top after the race.
“She did a good job. She is not going as well as she was normally when I ride her. She is getting a little bit older,” he said.
“She is just a very good mare with a big heart at the moment and certainly she doesn’t feel like she’s right there.”
However Waterhouse stuck up for the More Than Ready five-year-old who is after her sixth Group One victory on Saturday and her 16th win at what will be her 22nd start.
“She should be able to win (the Myer Classic). It’s lovely to have a mare as good as her,” she said.
Ellerton said the way the track was racing would have a bearing on the result given there was rain forecast for Friday and Saturday.
“More often than not when the bite is out of the track they are finishing on a bit so I don’t know if it is a good draw or not,” he said.
“It wasn’t by design that she got back last time it was just where she drew, but I’d expect her to settle in the first half dozen on Saturday.”
Two starts back Response ran third to Temple Of Boom in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes when second-up at Flemington but Ellerton said jockey Dwayne Dunn told connections he went a bit too soon.
Ellerton, who co-trains Response in partnership with his cousin Simon Zahra, said if the Charge Forward five-year-old won or went very well in the Myer she could have her spring grand final in the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) on Saturday week.
More Joyous has attracted plenty of attention with punters on TAB Sportsbet, firming from $2.60 to $2.50, while a bet of $20,000 on the Robert Smerdon-trained filly Mosheen at $5 has brought her price in to $4.60.
Response is next at $10 with Yosei next best at $19.
Fillies do have not have a good record in the race and Mosheen will be out to go one better than star filly Alinghi who was narrowly beaten by Miss Potential in 2004.
Other fillies to fail in the race in recent years were Yosei (last in 2010) and Coupe and Royal Purler who were sixth and 12th respectively in 2002.