Barb Raider remains a chance to head to Sydney to contest the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf (1600m) despite defeat in Friday night’s Sunline Stakes at The Valley.
The 1600-metre Group 2 was her first test against mares and although beaten four lengths by Shout The Bar, Jerome Hunter was happy for a couple of reasons in particular.
“She was excellent and she’s come through it really well,” he said.
“It was a big effort up against the older girls, but in saying that the only negative is she didn’t really like the tighter track at Moonee Valley.
“So I think her run, although beaten convincingly, had a lot of merit because she didn’t handle the track and she had to work hard to get across. We would never have beaten the winner if you run it over a million times, but the margin should have been a lot closer.”
The Sunline Stakes was Barb Raider’s third start for the campaign, having resumed with a win in the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) on February 19 before a win in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1600m) three weeks later.
The daughter of Rebel Raider was one of the leading fancies for the VRC Oaks at one point last spring, but she did not progress to that 2500m race after finishing midfield in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and Hunter is happy with what she’s doing over shorter trips.
“This preparation I’ve trained her differently to have more sprint left in her,” he said.
“Her actions speak for it, she’s won a 1400 Group 3 and a mile Group 2, so at the moment she’s going pretty well over a mile and it won’t worry me if we stay at the mile this preparation.
“We’ve pencilled in the Queen Of The Turf at Randwick as her next start, but we’ll just see whether we go that way or we head the Adelaide way for the Australasian Oaks.”