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Stronger Mosheen to step up for spring
1st Aug 2012
Herald Sun - Matt Stewart - Tuesday, 31 July 2012
CHAMPION filly Mosheen ploughed through the mud at Cranbourne yesterday, her first steps towards a spring carnival that will make or break her.
The four-time Group 1 winner, ridden by Danny Nikolic, wasn't tested through heavy ground in an 800m trial, in which she ran a pleasing third.
For Nikolic, who describes Mosheen as "my only decent ride", and trainer Robert Smerdon, the spring carnival represents a raising of the bar not just for Mosheen but for her generation.
The carnival is littered with the shattered dreams of those who thought their top three-year-olds would maintain the edge at four.
Champion three-year-olds, particularly fillies, tend to find the transition to Cups and Cox Plate players a quantum leap.
Both trainer and jockey say Mosheen has the traits to make the grade and are buoyed she appears to have matured and strengthened in her winter break. But neither is assuming anything.
"It's a massive leap for three-year-olds to step up," Smerdon said. "They've been racing against their own age, against their own gender, and now they have to come out and take on all-comers."
Smerdon said Mosheen, winner of the Group 1 VRC Oaks, Australian Guineas, Randwick Guineas and Vinery Stud Stakes, had the ability to make it.
"She is just so clean in the wind," he said.
"She sprints, she stays, she runs on wet and dry, and she has improved in herself."
Nikolic said Mosheen would have to improve a minimum two lengths to be a dominant force in the spring, in which the Cox Plate in late October is her prime goal.
As good as Mosheen was last spring and this summer/autumn, another three-year-old filly, Atlantic Jewel, always easily had her measure and is also set for the Cox Plate.
"Look, it seems all systems go. She felt really good out there today, but it's a big step into spring," Nikolic said.
"The good thing is she feels like she's made the improvement. She is stronger."
Smerdon said he had not nominated a kick-off point to Mosheen's spring.
He said Atlantic Jewel, trained by Mark Kavanagh, was probably the most gifted three-year-old filly he had seen.
"I was feeling good about Mosheen this spring until someone mentioned Atlantic Jewel," he said.