Rising Romance has the outside barrier in the Turnbull Stakes but co-trainer Tom Dabernig is confident the mare is still capable of being a force.
Last year’s ATC Australian Oaks winner and Caulfield Cup runner-up has had two spring starts since being transferred from New Zealand trainer Donna Logan to the David Hayes and Dabernig stable in Victoria.
After a first-up sixth in the Memsie Stakes, Rising Romance finished second to Fawkner in the Makybe Diva Stakes when she flashed home between runners to just miss.
The five-year-old will head to Sunday’s Group One Turnbull at Flemington ahead of another shot at the Caulfield Cup for which she she shares the second line of betting.
Dabernig says the wide draw gives them little option but to ride her patiently.
“She’s drawn a bit of a tricky gate but with a Caulfield Cup in mind we’ll let her relax and with the big, long straight at Flemington she’ll be coming down the centre of the track strongly,” Dabernig said.
“Her two runs for us have been terrific.
“I think she should be spot-on come Sunday and in a fortnight’s time in the Caulfield Cup.”
Rising Romance is at $9 in the Turnbull Stakes with Alpine Eagle favourite at $5 after his close sixth in the Makybe Diva.
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller has four runners including $6 second favourite Royal Descent.
While Rising Romance is considered the leading chance from the Hayes-Dabernig stable, Extra Zero will also contest the race and Dabernig is warning punters not to underestimate the Australian Cup runner-up.
“His work earlier in the week suggested he was in the form he was in the autumn,” he said.
Trainer Ciaron Maher has decided to put blinkers on Set Square who tackles Group One company for the first time this spring in Sunday’s race.
“I’ve had them on her a few times in trackwork and I just thought it was a nice time to put them on,” Maher said.
“She’s drawn pretty well (in barrier seven) to sit somewhere just behind the speed and it’s obviously better for her getting up to 2000 metres.
“She should be hitting the line hard, and hopefully it will top her off for the Caulfield Cup.”