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04 Dec

Racing: Mick Kent looks to defy spring convention with stable star Abbey Marie

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Not many horses can win a group 1 race first time up, let alone one over 1600 metres.
Shanghai night field

But that is the test that Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent may set his unbeaten mare Abbey Marie as he lines her up for success in one of the most competitive events of the season.

Kent’s audacious plan is to run the daughter of Redoute’s Choice first up in the Myer Classic for fillies and mares on Derby Day, a race that is generally one of the hardest contests all year for those restricted to the female sex.

Abbey Marie has, however, already defied convention and Kent believes that the now four-year-old has such ability that what looks like the impossible may actually be achievable.

Abbey Marie already has tasted success at group 1 level, having won the Schweppes Oaks in Adelaide over 2000m at only her third racecourse start. That success came barely six weeks after she made her racetrack debut, winning a 1300m maiden at Sandown. In between she scored over 1400m at Caulfield in a lowly benchmark race for fillies.

It would be some achievement if Kent could pull it off, particularly as Abbey Marie is also recovering from an illness that laid her low for a month shortly after her Oaks triumph.

“Because Abbey Marie had a few weeks in hospital she only had the month off, so really I have only got the Myer [as a target] for her. But she’s come back terrific,” Kent said.

“She could go  straight into the Myer. If I am happy enough she might have a prep race over 1400m before that, but I am happy enough to go straight into the Myer with her.”

While most trainers will be targeting the Cups races and the three-year-old classics, during spring, Kent’s big guns – Abbey Marie, Charlevoix and Supido – are all earmarked for tests towards the end of the carnival.

Supido reached group 1 level last season when he ran third in the Goodwood behind star galloper Black Heart Bart and subsequent Stradbroke winner Under The Louvre, while  promising stayer Charlevoix was well backed in the South Australian Derby but could finish only fifth to Howard Be Thy Name.

“I want to run Supido in the Manikato [at Moonee Valley]. I am not sure whether he will go to the Gilgai first up or straight into the Manikato.

“I will give him his big break now. There are not a lot of races for him in the spring, but in the autumn there are a million races he could go for.

“Charlevoix, I took him a step too far, five weeks [without a run]  into the Derby, he just raced really flat. It’s the Sandown Classic for him, he is unbeaten at the track.”

*Jockeys are known for being tough, and apprentice Jake Bayliss showed he was no exception to the rule at Caulfield on Saturday when he scored on his only ride of the day, Lord Barrington for Mike Moroney.

Bayliss had only returned to race riding in mid-August having missed just 18 days after fracturing two ribs and sustaining a chip on his shoulder bone after a fall at Sandown on July 27 from the Moroney-trained Bonnie Belle.

The youngster rode a terrific race, getting his mount out from the widest barrier to land on the fence and make all the running.

“I have came back in at the wrong time really, things are starting to get a bit warm with the spring carnival so it’s been a bit quiet [for an apprentice like him] but Moroneys have stuck loyal to me and keep putting me on like they do so it was good to get a result for them with my only ride.

“The doctor  said I would be looking at a month and a half on the sideline but I was well enough to ride trackwork within two weeks.  I was happy to come back quickly.”

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