SUNDAY’S $35,000 Godolphin Tiara (1280m) at Muswellbrook will be used as a stepping stone by at least two trainers aiming their horses at the $200,000 Anniversary Highway Hcp at Randwick on Everest day.
Muswellbrook’s Mark Schmetzer and Mudgee’s Cameron Crocket both have the Anniversary in their sights and rate the Tiara as an important stepping stone.
Schmetzer will start the lightly-raced Majestic Pedrille, the winner of two of her only four starts, while Crocket will saddle up Jar Of Hearts, which will be resuming from a lengthy break.
Majestic Pedrille, a four-year-old, did not have her first start until March this year when she won a maiden at Scone.
She failed at her next start, was spelled then returned to run third at Scone and win at Taree.
“The day she won her maiden at Scone we knew she would she was above average and was a horse that we could target towards some Highway Handicaps,” Schmetzer said.
“She was a horse that was late to mature and we took our time with her and it is paying dividends now.
“Sunday’s race is the next step in a plan we mapped out some time for her to ensure she is at her peak for the Anniversary.
“If she wins she will go to a Class Three Highway over 1600 metres at Randwick next month then back up a week later in the Anniversary.
“However, if she gets beaten she will go to a Class Two Highway over 1500 metres at Rosehill then into the Anniversary.”
Travis Woolfgram rode Majestic Pedrille for the first time when she won at Taree and has the ride again.
However, any decision on a rider for her in Sydney will be left until after Schmetzer confers with the owners.
While the Anniversary is one of the goals for Jar Of Hearts, the longer term plan is to try and qualify her for next year’s Country Championship final.
“She ran third in the heat at Wellington this year and eighth in the Wild Card at Scone so we put her away and gave her a long spell with next year’s championships in mind,” Crockett said.
“We will give her this preparation, another break then get her ready.
“However, the Anniversary is also an option providing she races well on Sunday.
“The one drawback with her is that she is only tiny and has a few temperament issues, which makes her a bit of a challenge to manage.”
Kris Lees has been forced to change his plans and target Little Shocker at the Tiara rather than Invienna, as first planned, after Invienna was sent back to his farm for a short break.