Nick Olive is eyeing off a late spring assault in Melbourne with star mare Maid Of Ore, who resumes in the Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) at Wyong on Friday.
The Canberra trainer has circled the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on November 7 as this campaign's major aim, although that could depend on an easing of Victoria's strict COVID-19 restrictions.
More immediately the seven-time winner will be aimed at further success in Sydney after the Mona Lisa, looking to build on the two salutes she managed in town over the spring including a stirring win on Everest Day.
"We struggled to find the right race for her to start off in to be honest, it's a mares' race, she's drawn awkward, and the Wyong track probably doesn't suit her to be honest," Olive said.
"After this run she'll probably just go to Sydney in two weeks in the ratings race and we'll go from there.
"If she's going well, we'd love to get her down to Melbourne for the Matriarch Stakes on the last day of the Flemington week.
"She's got to come up, she's got to be going well to do that. That's probably the grand final plan but there's a fair bit of water to go under the bridge between now and then."
Maid Of Ore was bought as a weanling for just $4000 by the Laing family, and has banked almost a quarter of a million dollars in prizemoney following her debut win over five furlongs at Canberra.
"She probably surprised us a bit that day because we thought she'd want to get over a bit of ground...I suppose she put the writing on the wall then," Olive said.
"She had a frustrating run through a few races where she was getting beat but she really stepped up to the mark after that and has proved herself to be a nice mare."
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Olive is preparing for a busy weekend - he'll saddle up Mohahna, Pecuniary Interest and Polar Star at Canberra on Friday before heading up to Randwick to contest the Highway Handicap with (1200m) with resuming mare Temoin Chaud.
"She's a progressive filly, she won her runs on ability more than anything else last time, she was quite new and green and doing a lot wrong," Olive said.
"There's probably a few in there that have got a bit better credentials than her but I just feel that she's progressive. Once you've done your dash in the Highways you can't go in them any more so I thought we might as well give her a preparation in them, and see if she can prove she's up to them.
"She just feels like she's matured a lot. She's a lot stronger and a lot more switched on, hopefully she can kick a few goals this preparation."
Polar Star will contest a red-hot Federal Handicap (1000m) on Friday.
"He's had a freshen up, he's been in great form, he's obviously weighted up to his best in this race," Olive said.
"He's going great, he's an honest customer, he never runs a bad race."
Former leading jockey John Scorse provides all the tips you need for Canberra's race meet on Friday.
Best bet: Race 8, No.11 Fortune Seeker: Looked to have plenty up her sleeve winning recent city trial, she is not here for the scenery.
Best roughie: Race 6, No.3 Pecuniary Interest: Show good staying potential last prep and very good first up run.
Race one: 1st: No.7 Farthing Wood: Unsuited last few runs and can improve on a firmer track, up in distance a plus and drawn well. 2nd: No.6 Wilful Soul: In top form and shooting for the hattrick, she handles all conditions great chance again. 3rd: No.5 Temoin Chaud: Lightly raced but has plenty of upside, won 2/3 in her first prep, recent trial was good she will be there throughout. 4th: No.2 Trying: Next best.
Race two: 1st: No.7 Olmeto: Placed both runs this t/d last prep and should peak at third run in from good gate. 2nd: No.1 Club Legend: Race fit and in good form, followed maiden win this t/d with solid placing behind Havaduel who has won since, right in this. 3rd: No.2 Peralta: Not far off in recent provincial runs and back in distance no real concern for him. 4th: No.3 Final Showdown: Next best.
Race three: 1st: No.1 Mohahna: Good effort second up and chased hard, he should be at his top now and extra distance in his favour looks the one to beat. 2nd: No.8 All Too Rio: Not disgraced on debut in solid provincial maiden when specked at long odds, extra trip suits. 3rd: No.9 Autumn Falls: Has been well back in both runs in strong maidens, gets to 1400 with blinkers on and can improve here. 4th: No.2 Tezoff: Resuming and not without claims.
Race four: 1st: No.3 Frankly Savvy: Defied a market drift to score a very strong win on debut, nice type of mare who will improve again and hard to run down. 2nd: No.5 Liberty Fields:Well bred mare who is getting better each run, won running away at Goulburn and will be strong late here. 3rd: No.4 Kabu: Stoutly bred mare having her 2nd start in oz, raced handy and faded last time but will be fitter for that. 4th: No.8 Costa Chin Chin: Forgive last start, has place claims here.
Race five: 1st: No.8 Sonny: Good run on debut off one trial when he was checked at a vital stage and would have placed, can improve a lot off that. 2nd: No.6 Andreas: Well beaten at only run in the city, very nice recent trial and watch market. 3rd: No.9 Elveena: On debut from leading yard and has trialled well recently. 4th: No.7 Appetite For Risk: Next best.
Race six: 1st: No.4 Holy Sunday: Nice horse on the way up, raced handy and boxed on well to win at scone last time and can repeat the dose. 2nd: No.3 Pecuniary Interest: Very good last prep and ran very well first up, he will improve on that run and extra distance suits. 3rd: No.6 Shenandoah: Very strong all the way win when second up, extra distance appears a good thing for him. 4th: No.2 Garros: Next best.
Race seven: 1st: No.6 Calescent: Good effort off a seven week break when she worked hard to lead and ran down late at Kembla last Saturday, on a six day back up here. 2nd: No.4 Polar Star: Very honest horse, will be on speed here and a great record at this t/d. 3rd: No.8 More Euros: Had too much to do from wide gate first up on a testing track, very good second up record. 4th: No.10 Concrete: Next best.
Race eight: 1st: No.11 Fortune Seeker: Well bred filly who looks ready to win off impressive recent trial win. 2nd: No.8 Hypnosis: Trialled well before placing at Goulburn when a drifting odds on fav. 3rd: No.2 Astero: Ran into a smart one when placed at Nowra, will improve. 4th: No.2 Lenny's Lad: Next best.