Tulip is giving every indication on the training track she is ready to fire first-up in the Group Three Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield.
Saturday’s 1200m-race for fillies shapes as an intriguing contest on a big program at Caulfield, with Group One winner Shoals and Group Two winner Booker other well-credentialed fillies making their returns in the field of nine.
Shoals was the $3.80 favourite on Friday ahead of Tulip at $4.20.
Co-trainer Ben Hayes says Tulip appears to have come back in fantastic order.
“She looks to be flying,” Hayes said.
“Her trial was excellent down the straight at Flemington the other day.”
Tulip won her 800m-Flemington jump-out last Friday in the quickest time of the morning’s heats with race jockey Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
Although Tulip has only won two of her 10 starts, she has earned more than $800,000 prize money.
“Hopefully she can get a couple more wins under her belt and get her confidence up,” Hayes said.
“She’s an excellent sprinter when we get her going.”
Tulip will be chasing her first win since the Group Three Magic Night Stakes 11 months ago.
The three-year-old’s spring campaign included a fifth placing in the $10 million Everest (1200m) at Randwick against the country’s best sprinters at weight-for-age.
In Lindsay Park’s weekly online update, fellow co-trainer Tom Dabernig rated Tulip the horse he believed to be the stable’s best chance from a host of runners this weekend.
“Shoals is in it which you’ve got to respect, but there’s probably been no horse working better leading into the meeting,” Dabernig said.