Top Western Australian trainer Fred Kersley says his filly Caiguna is ready for a rematch with rival Pop Culture in the Group 3 $250,000 SKYY Vodka WA Oaks (2400m) at Ascot tomorrow.
Caiguna was able to beat Pop Culture by a length and a quarter when they last met in the Listed $80,000 Broome International Airport- Natasha Stakes (2200m) at Ascot on March 17 and Kersley said the small field tomorrow will give both fillies the chance to produce their best.
“The small field suites me and I hope it suits her,” Kersley said.
I’m not a fan of the big fields. It’s not quality racing, it’s a lot of luck involved whereas the smaller fields give every horse a chance.”
“I’d rather see a contest of ability than a contest of luck.”
Kersley has been impressed with the improvement Caiguna has shown this time in and if she performs up to his expectations will proceed onto the Group 2 $400,000 WATC Derby (2400m) in two weeks.
“Since she came back in this preparation I think she has improved with the extra time,” Kersley said.
“She’s improved with each run back and that coincides with the extra distance. Her performance over 2200m the other day was very good.”
“If she gets through this okay we’ll consider the Derby because it is a natural progression.”
Pop Culture’s jockey Troy Turner won’t be giving Caiguna as big a start tomorrow as he did in the Natasha Stakes when he couldn’t peg back Kersley’s filly after getting back in the field from a wide barrier.
“She got back off the speed a bit and it is probably fair to say the barrier did beat her,” Turner said.
“In saying that the horse that won held me pretty strong on the line.”
“She ran out the 2200m solidly enough last start so I don’t see that as a burden and I don’t think we will be giving such a start this time.”
Trainer Simon Miller said it was hard to split his two fillies in the Group 2 $500,000 Ausdrill Karrakatta Plate (1200m).
But in the end he nominated Darlington Abbey in front Miss Solis who is handicapped with the outside barrier of the sixteen horse field.
“There’s not much between her and Darlington Abbey,” Miller said.
“My concern is that if Miss Solis is five lengths off Darlington Abbey on the home turn she can’t beat her because she has a good kick.”
The two fillies met last start in the Listed $80,000 Focus Minerals Pty Ltd Gimcrack Stakes (1100m) at Ascot on March 17 and Miss Solis was unable to catch Darlington Abbey after being held for a run in the straight.
Miller said that there was nothing between the fillies even in their work and they are both at the top of their game but he had to lean towards Darlington Abbey from a more favourable barrier.