Kerry Parker sets sights on Queen Of The Turf Stakes

Trainer Kerry Parker says that Hope In Your Heart’s eye-catcher on a heavy track to finish fourth in the Doncaster Mile last Saturday hasn’t taken the shine of the mare’s demeanour as a short back-up into the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) is firmly the plan.

Hope In Your Heart will again chase her first win at the highest level this Saturday and a fourth for Kembla Grange-based Parker who celebrated Think It Over’s victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on the same race day 12 months ago.

The fast-finishing effort at $31 and less than two lengths from dual winner Mr Brightside has Hope In Your Heart tuned up for her next test.

“She’s pulled up really well,” Parker said.

“She was nice and bright yesterday morning (Sunday) and coming off the track this morning she had the tail up and was nice and well.

“I was really confident she’d run well but it was always going to be tricky from where we were going to get in the run.

“She went terrific but I think she just needed a bit more midrace pressure where I think when you get on the heavy track you grab hold a little bit to help them through, but I think if the track stayed in the soft range there might have been more pressure midrace.”

Though pleased with the outing, the toll off a run on such rain affected going still plays somewhat on Parker’s mind.

“It is always concerning coming off a heavy track when you’re thinking of backing her up again in a week but at this stage, I can’t fault her,” he said.

The four-year-old by Dundeel returned to racing in 2023 with a strong win in the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 23 then narrowly missed the placings in the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill three weeks later.

After a further three weeks into the Doncaster, this seven-day back-up is a change for the mare.

“I haven’t done this before with her but the plan this time in was to give her the four runs and that’s most likely,” Parked added.

Hope In Your Heart takes on import Alcohol Free who, after impressing in a trial at Randwick on March 21, is the $3.50 for the Queen Of The Turf.

At $8, Hope In Your Heart is capable of raising the bar again, Parker says.

“She’s just so genuine and she’s getting stronger and slowly working it out.

“She loves her racing even though she gets a bit quirky down in the stalls beforehand.

“If she could settle that down she might save a bit more energy, but she is up to the A-graders.”

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