With rich sales-restricted two-year-old races approaching, juvenile racing is beginning to sort the contenders from the pretenders.
On the Gold Coast there will be $2 million up for grabs in the Magic Millions Classic in January while the $500,000 Inglis Nursery will be run at Randwick on December 17.
Trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have Serena Bay in the $150,000 Golden Gift at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Sebring filly was knocked down for $220,000 at the Inglis Easter Yearling sale and is one of four horses in the 11-horse field with raceday experience.
Serena Bay has the important distinction of winning her only start at Kembla Grange.
In trademark Waterhouse fashion, Serena Bay was taken to the front and had her rivals easily beaten in a 900m dash on November 12.
“We feel she’s well above average and I think she proved that on debut,” Bott said.
“She did it all very naturally and with improvement I think she’ll be a very nice filly for us.”
The Golden Gift shapes as the right race for Serena Bay, according to Bott.
“She’s come through her first race in great order,” he said.
“She looks well and we couldn’t be happier with her.”
Serena Bay has drawn barrier two outside Ipso Facto, who finished third on debut at Canterbury and is trained by Waterhouse’s former right-hand man Mark Newnham.
Among the debutants, the Anthony Cummings-trained Terwilliker and Pymble from Gerald Ryan’s stable are related.
Terwilliker is the first progeny from Group One-winning mare Hurtle Myrtle who is out of the same dam as Pymble.
Godolphin have already enjoyed juvenile success with Gimcrack Stakes winner Jorda and Veranillo who won on November 12 at Rosehill.
Trainer John O’Shea has Florid and Korma from barrier five and six respectively.
Reigning Golden Slipper-winning trainers Peter and Paul Snowden have accepted with Arbitrate and Allied Power.
Arbitrate was fifth on debut behind Veranillo while Allied Power has had two trials and was beaten by a nose in the most recent of those at Rosehill on November 7.
Hawkes Racing has Reflectivity who finished alongside the Wendy Roche-trained Salvador in a trial at Warwick Farm.
The Rebecca Dunn-trained Keep On Charging has also been accepted for a two-year-old race at Muswellbrook on Friday.