By Ray Hickson
Trainer Ben Smith is quite happy to remain in the background as several of In Her Time’s Everest rivals step up their campaigns on the racetrack this weekend.
They are the likes of defending champ Redzel and last year’s placegetters Vega Magic and Brave Smash, plus Santa Ana Lane and Invincible Star will race across two venues on Saturday.
But TAB’s runner in the $13 million sprint it sponsors again in 2018 won’t start until two weeks before Australia’s richest race and Smith couldn’t be happier with that scenario.
“Being locked in early for a horse like her is a blessing,’’ Smith said.
“She doesn’t need those four or five runs leading into a big race, her best are first and second-up and fresh.
“We didn’t have to go one run too many in the autumn or winter and can really focus on this race.
“This time last year we were on the fringe but we’ve been able to take a step back, have a run or two less and a bit longer in the paddock and it’s worked wonders with her.
“We’re going in at this stage of the preparation a lot more confident in how well she is.’’
In Her Time was considered unlucky not to make the inaugural Everest field and she won the consolation, the Sydney Stakes, on the same program.
She’s only raced four times since that win – for a second in the Manikato Stakes, a Group 1 Galaxy win and a third to Trapeze Artist in the TJ Smith before an out of character run in the Doomben 10,000.
The six-year-old mare, last season’s Provincial Horse Of The Year, completed a solid gallop on Tuesday morning on the Newcastle course proper and Smith plans to give her an exhibition gallop on Newcastle Cup Day (September 14) before an official trial five days later.
She’ll then resume in the Group 2 $500,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on September 29, a race she won first-up last spring, with Corey Brown riding.
“We’re just biding our time, bringing her up nice and steady,’’ Smith said.
“We’re starting to do a bit with her now and she’s actually going better than this time last year which is really positive.
“She can run any sort of time anyway, we never fully test her, but she’s a little stronger again than this time last year. She has come up quite well, a bit more furnished and her work is sharper.’’
In Her Time is on the $11 line in TAB’s Everest market behind Trapeze Artist ($4.50) who is due to begin his quest in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday week.
Meanwhile, Smith said Group 1 winning filly El Dorado Dreaming will trial at Rosehill on Monday ahead of her return in the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 15.
The three-year-old ran down the unbeaten Smart Melody to win her first trial this campaign and Smith is getting excited about her spring which includes some lofty targets.
“She worked on the Beaumont (on Tuesday) and looked very sharp in her work and she’s come on from the trial,’’ he said.