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Touch Of Mink to return to stakes class

Touch Of Mink has earned a return to stakes class with her odds-defying win at Randwick.

The Matthew Smith-trained filly was sent out at $12 in Saturday’s Benchmark 78 handicap over 1400 metres and defeated the previously unbeaten Vontaine ($2.30 fav) by a half neck.

Smith’s opinion of Touch Of Mink is such has has run her against the best including in the Group One Surround Stakes in which she finished midfield, 2-1/2 lengths from the winner Shoals.

The Warwick Farm trainer will now prepare her for the Group Three Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) on June 30 at Caloundra.

“She was stakes-placed in the spring and has run well against good horses,” Smith said.

“We gave her a freshen-up and it was the right thing to do to target races at the back end of the carnival..

“Andrew (Adkins) gave her a lovely ride.

“There is a race for her here in three weeks and then we have the Sunshine Coast Guineas in mind.

“I think she will have no problem getting 1600 metres but what her distance limit is I don’t know.”

Adkins said the best part of Touch Of Mink’s race was her finish.

“She was really good through the line,” he said.

“She had something there at the end.”

Vontaine’s trainer Richard Freedman said in hindsight the filly would have been better if she had been able to wrest the lead from I Am Kalani ($15) who sped to the front before weakening to sixth.

“I think she will be better back out to a mile and leading,” he said.

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