The Stradbroke Handicap could emerge as a realistic target for Steps In Time if the talented filly can win the Listed Hawkesbury Guineas on Saturday.
Steps In Time was among the Stradbroke nominations when they were released on Wednesday, and trainer John O’Shea has a Queensland campaign in mind for the filly but she has to run up to expectations over the 1400m at Hawkesbury.
While O’Shea admits it would take a monumental effort for Steps In Time to get to the $1 million Group One at Eagle Farm on June 11, the trainer believes the filly’s ability warranted her being nominated for the Stradbroke.
“She would be getting to a Stradbroke at about her fifth start in a race, but if she could win a couple of races in the next month they are going to be stakes races, and she’ll qualify and run,” O’Shea said.
“She has got a profile to suggest she could be competitive in a race like that with the right weight.
“Three-year-old fillies that are competitive in good-class races, such as the PJ Bell and Hawkesbury Guineas, with the weight advantage in a Stradbroke can be competitive.”
O’Shea trained star filly Private Steer to win the Stradbroke in 2003 after winning the PJ Bell and James Carr Stakes in Sydney and then running second in the Group One Doomben 10,000.
Steps In Time will be ridden by Christian Reith, who almost bagged a stakes double the last time feature racing headed to Hawkesbury.
Reith won the Listed Ladies Day Cup on Kanzan at Hawkesbury on November 4 last year and went within a half-neck of also claiming the Group Three Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) on Glintz later that day.
“I’m full of confidence and would be surprised if she wasn’t there right at the finish on Saturday,” Reith said of Steps In Time.
Steps In Time made a big impression on debut, winning a midweek 1250m event at Canterbury in December after doing plenty of work in the run.
The daughter of Danehill Dancer then returned with a game second to Red Tracer in the Listed PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) on April 8 after leading and kicking away in the straight.
“I was very surprised Red Tracer picked her up the other night,” Reith said.
“But Red Tracer did have race fitness on her side. Saturday is a different story, she will sprint and I expect her to keep going. I think it will take a good one to beat her.”