Sunday, 29 July 2012
Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed will take the first public steps towards her defence of the title with a gallop between races at Morphettville on Saturday.
The mare is trained on the Adelaide track but trainer Leon Macdonald says the raceday atmosphere will help perk her up ahead of a first-up tilt at the Spring Stakes a week later.
Stable jockey Clare Lindop will ride Southern Speed in her two home town starts in the Group Three Spring Stakes (1200m) and Listed Penny Edition (1400m) on August 25.
Lindop has won three races on Southern Speed but Craig Williams got the nod to ride her in the Caulfield Cup and was aboard again for her autumn campaign in Melbourne and Sydney.
"She will gallop next Saturday between races and that will stir her up," Macdonald said.
"She's going very well and I think she's better than she was last year.
"She will have two starts here and then go to Melbourne for the Makybe Diva which will tell us where she is at.
"There is no commitment yet on a jockey for Melbourne."
The handicapper will determine whether Southern Speed defends the Caulfield Cup and Macdonald hasn't ruled out the Cox Plate.
"I think she is a weight-for-age performer," he said.
"But if she gets what I hope - around 54 to 54-1/2 kilograms - in the Caulfield Cup, then we will have a go at the race again.
"The Makybe Diva will be the race that tells us what to do."
The Group Two Makybe Diva (1600m) is at Flemington on September 8.
Southern Speed was denied a Group One weight-for-age win when she was beaten a nose in the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in March.
She then finished fifth in two Sydney starts in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and BMW (2400m), both won by Manighar.
"I don't think she was at her top in Sydney," Macdonald said.
"Perhaps she didn't have a long enough break between the spring and the autumn.
"She's had a bit longer this time and I'm happy."
Of the six horse to have won two Caulfield Cups, only two - Poseidon (1906/07) and Rising Fast (1954/55) - have recorded back to back victories.