A strong performance from former West Australian sprinter Sheidel at Caulfield will confirm a Group One target for the mare.
Co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig, and Sheidel’s owner Rob Crabtree, already have Miss Promiscuity heading to the Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 7 and Sheidel is on trial to join her in the fillies and mares sprint.
But first she must perform to expectations in Saturday’s Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) for which she is the $4.60 favourite to land her first Melbourne win.
Crabtree bought the mare earlier this year and she went to Hayes and Dabernig’s stable as the winner of 11 of her 15 starts in the west including three at Listed level.
The mare has been favourite in her two Melbourne starts but things haven’t gone her way.
She was wide from an outside barrier before hitting the line hard for third over 955m at Moonee Valley, then sprawled at the start in a Sandown 1000m race two weeks ago before finishing fourth.
“We went to Sandown pretty confident and she came out and fell on her nose coming out of the gates,” Dabernig said.
“But she picked herself up which is not easy to do over a sprint trip and still finished off pretty strongly.
“I think if she jumped cleanly she probably would have won.”
Dabernig says Saturday’s race, which includes multiple Group One placegetter Under The Louvre, has quality and Sheidel needs to be on her game.
But he believes the mare has improved again fitness-wise.
“I think with Ollie (Damien Oliver) aboard, if she steps cleanly she would have to be one of the top contenders,” Dabernig said.
Hayes and Dabernig have opted for gear changes on Sheidel, removing the cross-over noseband and also the tongue tie.
“That was her winning gear in Perth so she had her first two runs here in it because we didn’t want to change,” Dabernig said.
“But we thought it might be time to experiment with nothing and go back to basics.”
Dabernig said on her work Sheidel could be favourably compared to a mare like Miss Promiscuity.
Under The Louvre is on the second line of betting at $5 with Pittsburg Flyer, who finished fourth in the Oakleigh Plate two starts ago, at $6.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au