Scorched Earth’s path to be determined by Kevin Hayes Stakes

Scorched Earth has bounced through her last-start win at Caulfield and a return to the same track on Saturday week will determine whether she gets a shot at Group 1 glory this campaign.

Trainer John Moloney said the $200,000 Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) against her own age and sex looms as an acid test for the three-year-old filly.

Victory would mean she is a chance to run in the $750,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 26, while defeat would mean a reassessment of future targets.

“We’ll go to the Kevin Hayes with the thought that if she was impressive you could go to the Oakleigh Plate, but I’d need to see a pretty impressive win to warrant it,” Moloney said.

“She’d need to be a winner and need to be winning well enough to say ‘I’m worthy of a try’.

“That’s all got to be done before you go any further. I’m not expecting her to go any further before you past that test.”

The daughter of Nicconi is slated to contest an 800m three-year-old jumpout at Cranbourne on Monday morning.

A $26 chance in TAB’s Oakleigh Plate odds, Scorched Earth has won four of her nine starts included back-to-back wins at Flemington and Caulfield at her two most recent outings.

Those wins followed a fourth placing in the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude at 1400 metres, but Moloney said it was unlikely racegoers would see her at that trip again.

“I think she’s more of a sprinter,” Moloney said. “We tried her out to 1400, but I think she’s more of a sprinter than the other.”

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