Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle will launch a two-pronged attack on the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone on Friday. Electric Girl and Strawb will both line up in the feature event and each will carry the minimum of 54kg.
Nathan Doyle is going at a phenomenal strike rate of late, striking at 28% winners through his last 50 runners.
Strawb has had her well documented troubles throughout her career, but silenced her critics with a gutsy win last start. Doyle said the five-year-old’s latest effort was even better than it appeared.
“She had had enough on the line, but she probably did a better job than it looked,” he said. “It was against the pattern of the day, it was playing pretty on speed and fast, and she got back fourth last and was able to overcome that.
“She’s taken natural improvement from first-up to second-up and the 1400m looks to suit. It’s a lot tougher task obviously, but if she’s anywhere near her best I think she’ll be right in the finish.”
Strawb hit headlines in the racing media after becoming fractious in the gates when first-up at Newcastle last preparation. There was conjecture whether the mare should have been passed fit to run after appearing to hit her head on the barrier structure, before eventually finishing 11th.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock continued her campaign with two further placings but was clearly not at her best. Doyle said the five-year-old never got to show how good she really is.
“I don’t think she really came up last preparation,” he said. “Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but after she had that mishap in the gates with her first-up run last preparation, we probably should’ve just tipped her out and started again.
“I think her runs the rest of that preparation never really showed what she’s capable of, but it was good to see her get the win first-up.”
Doyle will also saddle up Electric Girl in the Group 3 feature. A daughter of Declaration Of War, Electric Girl was transferred into Doyle’s care at the beginning of her preparation.
The four-year-old has been close in all of her starts this preparation but is yet to break through for a victory, with her last win coming in March last year.
Doyle says the mare could’ve played a role in the finish last start had she got some luck.
“It wasn’t a pretty watch, watching the replay. She probably got stopped in her tracks on a couple of occasions, and by the time she got out first and second were off and gone,” he said. I’m not saying she would’ve beaten the winner or anything, but it would’ve made it interesting…
“We’re hoping to be a bit more positive I’d say at Scone. She sort of knuckled coming out of the gates, which put us back a bit in the final [stages]. If she can step well, we’re happy to be in the first three or four.”
Strawb and Electric Girl are currently $18 and $17 chances respectively with tab.com.au for the Group 3 feature worth $200,000.