Estriella on song for the Sunlight Classic

The Ciaron Maher stable holds high hopes for Estriella, but the future of her campaign will not be determined until after she runs at Flemington.

On offer after the Listed Sunlight Classic (1100m) on Saturday is a trip to Sydney for a Group 2 race against her own age, or a trip to Adelaide for a Group 1 contest against her own sex.

Jack Turnbull, who runs the Cranbourne stable for Maher, said there was a possibility the filly could take on both challenges next month, but all that won’t be decided until after Estriella gets through Saturday’s sprint against three-year-olds.

The Group 2 Arrowfield Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 13 and the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on April 27 are under consideration for the filly.

The Maher stable won the Robert Sangster Stakes last year with Ruthless Dame and followed up winning The Goodwood (1200m) two weeks later with Royal Merchant who were both three-year-olds when successful in those Group 1 races.

Turnbull said Estriella profiles as a similar type to that pair.

“She’ll go to the Sunlight and then potentially onto the Arrowfield Stakes up in Sydney, all going well,” Turnbull said.

“And then if she was to travel after Sydney, it would possibly be to Adelaide.

“I don’t think she would go to Brisbane, but ultimately Ciaron would make that call.

“She models similar to a Ruthless Dame and a Royal Merchant, but everything comes down to how she performs in the Sunlight.”

Estriella has raced only six times, registering three wins, and is unbeaten in Victoria.

She resumed with a first-up win in the Kevin Hayes Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield last month before winning the Inglis Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on March 2.

Turnbull said that straight track experience was invaluable.

He added the filly has been taken along quietly since but had a ‘working gallop jump-out’ at Cranbourne recently, being competitive with fellow Sunlight Classic contender I Am Unstoppable.

“She’s been four weeks between run, and she went really well,” Turnbull said.

“That was the idea. Get her stimulated and do a bit more without doing too much.

“She is a very talented horse.”

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