Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott held Sheikha back from the Light Fingers Stakes at Randwick but are confident the filly is capable of a return to black-type racing.
The training partnership chose an easier option for the three-year-old this week and the strategy paid off when Sheikha claimed the TAB Handicap (1100m) by a short neck at Warwick Farm.
A Sebring filly, Sheikha was black-type placed in her second career start in the Group Three Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) last April and Bott said she was capable of improving on that achievement.
“We’d love to get back-type win for her and she’s certainly got that level of ability. We’ll look at the program and assess where she’s best placed,” he said.
“She’s a quality filly so it’s really good to see her do it and show that promise.”
Josh Parr said agonised over how to ride the $2.60 favourite after the top weight was lumped with 60kg.
“I looked over this race about 45 times just trying to work out how the speed was going to work,” he said.
“I made the decision to go forward because of the 60 kilos on her back. I didn’t want to have to wait for them to sprint and then go with them.”
Tarabai ($4.40) was second and Ready For Love ($12) filled out the minor placings, 1-1/4 lengths off the pace.
Parr, who has ridden Sheikha in four of her seven starts, thought she was equipped to return to Listed or Group company.
“She’s always given me the feel that’s she got black-type ability, her turn of foot shows she certainly has that ability.”
Waterhouse and Bott are represented in the Group Two Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) on Saturday by the resuming Debonairly and in-form filly Schmookh.