Trainer Joe Pride hopes Fasika (black) can live up to his expectations in the Sheraco Stakes.
Joe Pride is not making any bold predictions when it comes to spring plans for Fasika, but that does not mean he hasn’t dared to dream.
The undefeated four-year-old will resume in Saturday’s Group Two Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill, a race that has been won by some of the country’s best mares with Catkins capturing back-to-back editions in 2014-15 and More Joyous likewise a two-time winner in 2010 and 2012.
Fasika’s career is still mostly ahead of her, but having progressed from a maiden win at Warwick Farm on debut to win the Listed South Pacific Classic at just her third start, the future looks bright.
“She’s a gorgeous mare, a beautiful big mare and you can only think she would have improved since she was a three-year-old, which was her first racing prep,” Pride said.
“She doesn’t have to improve much to be getting close to top-shelf.”
The Sheraco will be Fasika’s toughest test to date.
Along with last year’s winner Invincibella, her opponents include proven Group performers I Am Excited, Champagne Cuddles, Alassio and Mizzy.
Having originally planned to kick off Fasika’s campaign in a benchmark race two weeks ago before scratching her because of a heavy track, Pride now finds himself deep-ending the mare.
He does feel she will take considerable improvement from the run fitness-wise, but he is not running scared.
“She’s had three trials which helps her,” Pride said.
“Any less of a preparation and I don’t think I’d be game but with the three trials under her belt, one of them on the course proper over 1000, I feel she’s pretty ready.”
Saturday’s race will be significant in defining the remainder of Fasika’s spring.
Pride is looking for her to finish in the top five and if she performs to expectations, the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on November 2 will remain on the radar.
“The Eagle is there as a dream more than a plan,” he said.
“The question will be so much more easily answered after Saturday because I’ll have a much better feel of how she’s come back.”
Pride’s only other Rosehill runner will be Superium, who backs up from a disappointing performance behind Yao Luck at Randwick last weekend.
The horse raced outside the speed in blustery conditions and compounded, but Pride hopes he can recapture his best if ridden with cover in Saturday’s Dulcify Quality (1500m).
“He needs to be smothered up somewhere and he didn’t get that, hopefully he gets it Saturday,” Pride said.