Samara Dancer can emulate an elder sibling by winning a Guineas Prelude at Caulfield, but her trainer Phillip Stokes hopes she can do even better in her Group One finale two weeks later.
The premier Adelaide trainer believes Samara Dancer has improved going into Saturday’s Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) after her third in the Danehill Stakes against the colts and geldings.
Samara Dancer’s half-brother Eclair Big Bang, who now races as Almababy in Hong Kong, won the Caulfield Guineas Prelude for colts and geldings at the corresponding meeting three years ago, having finishing third in the Danehill.
Eclair Big Bang failed to beat a runner home in the Caulfield Guineas but Stokes is convinced Samara Dancer is better equipped for the 1600m of the Thousand Guineas for fillies.
“He pulled too hard and was more of a sprinting type whereas I think she’s got a lot better temperament,” Stokes said.
She opened at $9 with TAB on Wednesday for the Prelude but has tightened to $6 with West Australian filly Whispering Brook the $4 favourite.
Samara Dancer has a wide barrier to contend with in the field of 14 and Stokes wants to see her relaxing and finishing strongly over the 1400m.
“I thought top five in the Danehill would be good so for her to run third was better than I expected,” Stokes said.
“She’s done everything right and settled in really well at Caulfield.
“There’s still improvement in her going towards the Thousand Guineas and we’ve just drawn a bit of a tricky barrier in gate 13.
“I just want to see her relaxing and finding the line. That’s all I want to see going towards the mile.
“If she gets beaten because of the barrier, so be it, but she’ll be better for that.”
Samara Dancer was an impressive winner of the Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies in February but failed in the Group One Blue Diamond.
“I had her cherry ripe for the Prelude but I made the mistake of taking her back to Adelaide after that race. She lost weight and was a spent force in the Blue Diamond,” Stokes said.
“That’s why our horses stay at Caulfield now.”