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Srikandi’s only Victorian defeat was at Moonee Valley but the track holds no fears for trainer Ciaron Maher as he prepares the mare for the Group One Manikato Stakes.

Srikandi finished second at her only attempt around the tight-turning circuit in February last year.



However, her record at Doomben, a track Maher says is similar to the Valley, has convinced the trainer Friday night’s venue won’t be an issue.

“The Valley is not that different to Doomben,” Maher said.

“They’re both that sort of tightish track. I think she appreciates a bend and she can put herself pretty handy in her races.”

A dual Group One winner during the Brisbane winter carnival, Srikandi will be having just her fifth race start in Victoria when she takes her place in the $1 million sprint.

Trained at Caulfield, Srikandi has done the majority of her racing in Queensland where she has registered six of her nine wins.

She took out Brisbane’s premier sprint, the Stradbroke Handicap in June, before going on to claim the Tatt’s Tiara at the Gold Coast.

Maher says Friday night’s Group One contest will be the mare’s hardest test as she comes up against a field which includes odds-on favourite Chautauqua, unbeaten in two starts this campaign, and seasoned sprinters Buffering, Terravista and Rebel Dane.

“She’s had a nice smooth campaign but it’s going to be the toughest race she’s contested in her career,” Maher said.

“But she’s a big, strong, mature mare and is ready for it.”

Maher said Srikandi had spelled well in Queensland following her Brisbane campaign before doing her pre-training at Hawkesbury on her way back to Melbourne.

The mare has been given two barrier trials to prepare for her return and some strong gallops at Caulfield.

Srikandi has drawn the outside barrier in the field of 10, although she overcame barrier 15 to win the Tatt’s Tiara.

Maher rates Chautauqua as the benchmark sprinter in Friday night’s line up but he also has a healthy respect for the evergreen Buffering, a first-up winner of the Moir Stakes.

Srikandi is on the second line of Manikato betting at $6 with Chautauqua a $1.95 top pick.

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