MATTHEW Smith has a good opinion of unbeaten filly My Maher but admits Sunday’s Class 3 Handicap at Nowra will tell him a lot more about where she fits in.
The three-year-old has won two from two and will bid to bring up a hat-trick of wins over 1100m on Sunday. My Maher returned from a spell with a dominant Class 1 win at Albury on March 24 and Smith said she has come on leaps and bounds since the fresh victory.
“She is a nice filly and we’re taking her along through her grades and getting her educated and getting her to learn what it’s all about,” he said. “She got a lovely run the other day at Albury and was too good and it was actually perfect for her first-up run.
“Our horses are never really wound up for their first-up runs so I think she will improve a fair bit off that run.”
Smith is yet to test My Maher against one of his proven horses in trackwork but admits he will find out a lot more about her when she steps up in grade on Sunday.
“You’re racing against more seasoned horses and they have done a bit more racing than her,” he said. “Every time you go up in grade it’s interesting to see where your horse is going to end up.
“If she is going to be a good horse she will win (Sunday). She has certainly had the right preparation to win, she looks well and I think she will be hard to beat.”
My Maher is one of three runners for the stable at Nowra and Smith rated her alongside Septimo (Race 1) as his best chance of a winner.
“There is not much between them and they are both in their right races,” Smith said. “I think they are both really good chances.”
Septimo has finished in the minor placings at all three runs this campaign and Smith is hoping Sunday is his day. “He has been hard on us, Septimo,” he said. “He is a hard one to catch but I can’t fault him this preparation and all of his runs have been very good.
“The other day he got held up a bit at Wagga and got out when it was all over. He is ready to win and I hope he can lead and keep going.”
Smith will scratch Lumberjack (Race 5), who has been retired from racing after a setback, but Daphne Dynamite will also fly the flag for the stable in Race 4.
The filly found the front at Goulburn in a 1300m Maiden second-up before holding on for third.
“I was probably in two minds whether to step her up a bit more in distance and she probably is looking for a bit further,” he said. “But the track being heavy might bring her into the race and she will handle the wet conditions. She is nice and fit, will press forward from the alley and she will take improvement off that run at Goulburn which was a good, tough run.
“It’s a race she can be competitive in.”
Form favours Refuge Bay
DAVID Pfieffer pointed to the form around Refuge Bay to suggest the mare will be hard to beat at Nowra. Refuge Bay ran second to Exitozo in a 1450m benchmark 60 at Scone last start and that horse has franked the form since.
“The horse that beat her, Exitozo ran second at Warwick Farm the other day, so that’s good form,” Pfieffer said.
“She is a progressive type and without trying to (criticise) Mitchell Bell too much I thought he got too far back on her the other day and he was back second last on the turn.
“It was a long way to come back and I thought the amount of ground she made up in that final furlong was pretty impressive.”
Refuge Bay will step up to the mile for the first time in Race 5 and Pfieffer is upbeat she will appreciate it.
“She is by Savabeel and most Savabeel’s like the wet and want a bit of ground,” he said. “She is a horse that had her first few starts over 1100m-1200m but she ran second over 1300m at Goulburn (three starts back) and since then I’ve been stepping her up in distance.
“I would like her to be midfield and I probably want to get off the fence at some stage because Nowra when it’s wet the fence is probably the worst place to be. We will look to get the outside and come down the middle of the track.”
Pfieffer will also saddle up Nevada Mo in Race 3 providing the track dries up a touch.
The Nowra surface was rated a heavy 8 on Saturday and Pfieffer is hoping for a Soft 6 track to run Nevada Mo on Sunday.
“Last start the jockey said he wasn’t very comfortable on a Soft 7,” he said. “I thought his run the start before that was pretty good (when third at Scone) and he was probably unlucky not to have won. They went a bit slow up front that day and I thought he went good.”
SHAYNE O’CASS’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: FAIRLIGHTING (Race 4, No. 4)
Well bred filly from the Peter Robl yard who was good in patches at her first campaign, three of the four runs were in town, her debut run was second to the handy Crown Him at Goulburn. Trials have been fantastic ahead of his return.
NEXT BEST: MY MAHER (Race 2, No. 5)
Promising type from the Matthew Smith camp. She is unbeaten in her only two runs either side of a spell. Both wins were pretty similar; on-pace then clear out over the last 200m.
THE ONE TO BEAT: CAUPOLICAN (Race 1, No. 2)
Won’t be any flash odds given he is facing just four rivals for the opening race at Nowra. He looks the winner on paper in view of his outstanding second-up record.
Full Steam ahead
LOCALLY-trained gelding Steam Machine finishes in the placings about 50 per cent of the time; that’s the good news. The bad news is that he has managed to win only two of his 57 starts.
No one wants Steam Machine to win at Mudgee on Sunday more than his loyal jockey Tony Cavallo, who steered the gelding to his first win, at Cowra, more than two years ago.
Cavallo has ridden the Bob Howe-trained six-year-old at his past four starts, all of them placings.
“It would be great to get a winner for Bob and the owners, they are great people and I ride a lot for them,’’ Cavallo said. “They love their racing and put a bit into it. Steam Machine has only won the two races but in saying that, he’s won nearly $80,000 in prizemoney.
“If you go through his replays he looks the winner every time. He is a bit of an enigma, he races up to win and doesn’t go on with it. He is back in distance (Sunday) but he’s had a freshen-up, he’ll be running home for sure.’’
Cavallo and Howe combine earlier on the Mudgee card via Northern Conqueror, who resumes in the Creative Beaute Handicap (1100m).
“He is a nice little horse by Northern Meteor, who Gai Waterhouse used to have,’’ Cavallo said. “He ran a good race at Dubbo (on October 29) but he went home and hurt himself in the stable in the yard and had to have all this time off. He’s got a lot of weight and he hasn’t trialled but he’s got good natural speed and ability.’’
BEST BET: SKIRTING (Race 4, No. 1)
Almost looks too good to be true here. She should be winning and winning easily given that she won at Scone on debut then ran into a Group class filly (Blowing Kisses) at Wyong. Going to be short odds and fair enough.
NEXT BEST: LADY WOOLL (Race 1, No. 10)
Four-year-old mare trained at Dubbo who won a trial at home on November 1 but didn’t debut until April 2 at Narromine. She was wide for the most part but finished off pretty well. Has scope.
EACH-WAY: WACKY DOO (Race 2, No. 13)
Winless after 15 starts and with only three placings to show but bear in mind that he has only finished further back than fifth four times in all those appearances. Sure to be thereabouts again.
Originally published as Previews: Best bets for Nowra and Mudgee
SOURCE: newsnow sport