A solid gallop at Morphettville on Tuesday has confirmed Southern Speed’s readiness for her next assignment in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes.
The Caulfield Cup winner has race fitness on her side as she steps up in class from her first two starts this season – an unlucky third in the Spring Stakes (1200m) followed by a dominant win in the Listed Penny Edition (1400m) last Saturday week.
The field she meets in the 1600m Group Two at Flemington is several grades higher but trainer Leon Macdonald knows exactly what he has on his hands.
“She’s going terrific,” Macdonald said.
“I couldn’t be happier with her this preparation.
“She and Dinkum Diamond will go to Melbourne on Thursday in good order.”
Southern Speed received 54.5kg when Caulfield Cup weights were released on Wednesday, the weight Macdonald expected.
No mare has won the Caulfield Cup twice and it is not yet certain whether Southern Speed will attempt the feat.
Macdonald said the Cox Plate was still very much on the radar and the Makybe Diva would give him and her owners a better idea of where she fitted in.
Southern Speed’s best performance at weight-for-age was her nose second to Manighar in the Australian Cup (2000m) in March.
In TAB’s opening fixed odds markets for the Makybe Diva, Southern Speed shades Manighar for favouritism at $3.10 to his $3.90.
Southern Speed will be ridden by Craig Williams who steered her to victory in the Caulfield Cup but is committed this year to French horse Dunaden, winner of the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
While Macdonald oozes confidence in Southern Speed, he admits the task facing stablemate Dinkum Diamond at Flemington might be a little tougher.
Dinkum Diamond is equal topweight with 57.5kg for the Listed Cap D’Antibes (1100m), a set weights and penalties race for three-year-old fillies down the straight course.
The winner of three of her four starts including the Group Three Jansz (1200m) on her home track during the Adelaide May carnival, Dinkum Diamond was a comprehensive winner over 1000 metres on the Parks track at Morphettville last Saturday week.
A field of 16 has been declared for the race with leading heavyweight jockey Steven Arnold to ride Dinkum Diamond.
“It looks like a tough race but we’ll find out where we are at with her,” Macdonald said.
“She’s going well but it is a step up.”