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Mosheen poised to shine: Smerdon
4th Oct 2012
The Age - Patrick Bartley - Thursday, 4 October 2012
Trainer Robert Smerdon yesterday admitted he had underestimated the fitness of high-class mare Mosheen in the early stages of her spring campaign but is confident the four-year-old will rediscover some of the form that had her high up in Cox Plate markets when she runs at Flemington on Saturday.
Smerdon said a minor throat operation in mid-August had stalled the mare's spring preparation more than he had anticipated.
But he was happy with Mosheen's fitness levels heading into the group 2 Blazer Stakes. Mosheen and fellow mare Atlantic Jewel were expected to be the headline gallopers this spring, but with the Mark Kavanagh-trained champion already sidelined, the racing public appeared set to be deprived of Mosheen's best after two indifferent efforts this time in.
''I think we thought after the operation that she would miss just a week or maybe two, but when you look back it may have been a bit more than that,'' Smerdon said.
''But she is back and has not missed a beat. We had the luxury of steering away from races like the Cox Plate and aiming at the mares' races. But I have got to say she has really impressed me since her last start at Caulfield.''
Smerdon points to the prizemoney available for top-class mares races during the spring, and the favourable conditions of racing against her own sex.
''She's a four-time group 1 winner, so she has a decided advantage over most of the mares she's pitted against,'' he said.
''She has a fairly imposing record at Flemington, winning the Australian Guineas, the Oaks and the Edward Manifold at the track.''
Another from the stable who will be on trial for more lofty targets is honest three-year-old filly Members Joy, who will contest the group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington. Members Joy won at the track last month and is primarily being set for the group 1 Thousand Guineas on October 17.
''She's done really well … but her hopes on Saturday have been put back marginally because she drew in the car park,'' Smerdon said.
''It makes it very difficult from that gate  but you can't do anything about it … she has been working well and I am happy with her.''