Stokes to test Assertive Play over 1400m
Morphettville-based trainer Phillip Stokes is hoping Assertive Play can answer a big question on Saturday when he steps her out to 1400m for the first time in her career in the Listed John Moloney Stakes at Caulfield.
The daughter of Akeed Mofeed holds a nomination for the Thousand Guineas on October 13 but Stokes is not convinced the speedy filly will see out the mile in the Group 1 three-year-old fillies feature.
“We will just run her in the 1400m just to see where her distance range is, I’m not convinced she is a miler, so this will give us a good guide,” Stokes explained on Tuesday morning.
“We always thought she was a 1000-metre horse but in the back of my mind now I’m wondering if she is more of a 1200-metre (horse), hot speed, she likes that style.
“If we run her this Saturday we still have time to freshen her up for something else or if we decide to go the Thousand Guineas path we still have three weeks so this will be a really good indication of where she is at.”
Assertive Play was unbeaten in South Australia prior to an unlucky, but eye-catching performance behind Thrillster in the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) last start.
“She has come through the run fantastic, she has settled in beautifully here (Caulfield) I can’t fault her,” Stokes said.
“She worked with a mate on the course proper this morning and just did a five and two (galloping 1000m, improving over her final 400m) she got around really well, we didn’t have the bubble cheeker on her and she changed lead legs, did everything right.
“I’m very happy with her, it was more of maintenance gallop, her fitness is there she pulled up well, she didn’t want to hang in, which was good.
“She is very laidback filly, great to handle. I feel she needs good speed on that’s when she shows a good turn of foot so here is hoping for Saturday.”
Stablemate Music Bay took her first steps towards the Thousand Guineas last Saturday at Flemington with a tidy performance behind Smart Melody in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes and Stokes is confident in her ability to run out a strong mile.
“I’ve always been confident she will get out in trip, she will get to a mile and I think in the autumn she will be an Oaks filly, I couldn’t be happier with her,” Stokes said.
“She has really come through the run well, she has just been off the pony for a few days, she is eating well, this will really bring her on for the (Thousand Guineas) Prelude in two weeks’ time.
“Look they are both really nice fillies, Music Bay obviously looks the one that will step up to the Guineas and maybe a Wakeful, Assertive Play we are still just learning our way a bit with her but she has got a really good win in her.”