Star mares all set for a showdown
THE mouth-watering clash of super mares Atlantic Jewel and Mosheen at Caulfield in 17 days remains a real possibility despite Mosheen undergoing a minor throat operation early this week.
Mosheen, a four-time group 1 winner, was due to trial at Cranbourne yesterday to be ready for the group 2 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on September 1, but her trainer Robert Smerdon said the Memsie was still on the cards for the four-year-old as the operation, performed on Monday afternoon, was a minor one and was unlikely to seriously effect her preparation.
”We were going to step off in the Memsie and although we will reappraise that over the next few days. Considering on how she’s doing that still might be the race for her,” Smerdon said.
”Whether we kick off against Atlantic Jewel or not doesn’t really concern me at this point because they [Atlantic Jewel's connections] will be wanting to protect her unbeaten record while we are happy to go in first-up not fully wound up and then work our way to top fitness for our ultimate goal – that being the Cox Plate – later on.
Smerdon explained that when Mosheen had worked last Saturday her assistant trainer and trackwork rider, Stuart Webb, noticed the mare was not herself and was making a strange noise. It was discovered she had developed an epiglottic entrapment, which was removed on Monday at the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital.
Smerdon explained that the operation was ”the most straightforward procedure in the book”.
The potential of a clash between the two female heavyweights will prove one of the big selling points for racing officials in the absence this spring of Black Caviar.
Mosheen and Atlantic Jewel only met once last season as three-year-olds, with Atlantic Jewel proving three lengths superior in the group 1 Thousand Guineas last spring. But since then, Mosheen has won four group 1 races – the VRC Oaks, Australian Guineas, Randwick Guineas and Vinery Stakes while injury restricted Atlantic Jewel to just a handful of starts in the that time.
Atlantic Jewel, who is unbeaten in seven starts, was originally due to start her spring campaign this Saturday at Caulfield in the group 2 Lawrence Stakes, but her return was put back two weeks after she was unable to trial at Flemington last week due to the wet track. She is due to have a jump-out at Flemington this Friday.
While Mosheen was missing from the Cranbourne trials, there were several big-name spring contenders who took to the heavy conditions there yesterday.
Former German horse Mawingo showed he was ready for his first Melbourne spring carnival when a soft winner over 990 metres. Mawingo, who won the group 1 Doomben Cup, is also expected to resume in the Memsie Stakes.
Bel Sprinter was the only horse to break 48 seconds in his 800-metre trial.
One horse who will not be seen again on the racetrack is the 2011 Australian Guineas and AJC Derby winner Shamrocker, who has been retired after failing to please connections with her pre-spring campaign.