Kensington Stakes return for mare My Pendant - Can she fire over 1000m?
Danny O'Brien admits the Kensington Stakes distance is a query for My Pendant but the trainer will not be surprised to see her finish over the top of her rivals.
My Pendant has never raced below 1200m but O'Brien has opted to kick off her campaign in Saturday's Listed race over the straight 1000m at Flemington.
"She has come back in really good shape," O'Brien said.
"The 1000 metres might be a bit sharp for her but we thought this would be a good kick-off on her home track to get her going for the autumn."
A five-time city winner from 11 career starts, My Pendant has five rivals in the Kensington.
"She is going to be the closer in the race," O'Brien said.
"It's a small field and she's going to be the one out the back and sometimes it can set up for the closer to be the finisher.
"If she is close enough she will run as good a last 200 metres as anything else in the race."
The objective for the talented four-year-old during her summer and autumn campaign is to gain black-type.
She finished fifth in the Group Two Let's Elope Stakes and eighth in the Group Two Blazer Stakes (1400m) for mares in the spring.
"That's another thing on Saturday, if she does run top three she does get black-type," O'Brien said.
"We'll be working through those mares' stakes races and trying to hit the mark in some of those."
My Pendant races in the colours of her breeder, New Zealand's famous Waikato Stud.
All Too Royal is favourite at $2.90 ahead of three-year-old colt Time To Reign ($3.20), who has not started since his fifth placing in last year's Golden Slipper and will be taking on older horses for the first time.
Trainer Gary Portelli says he has always wanted to try Time To Reign in blinkers and feels the Kensington Stakes is the right race.
"I thought the best time to put them on is over 1000 metres because you're not really looking to settle, you're looking to just run," Portelli said.
"It will keep him focused and hopefully keep him straight.
"Hopefully we're strong enough when some of the older and more mature sprinters are starting to join in."