Southern Speed Defends Title

Jul 20, 2012

Canny South Australian trainer Leon Macdonald is eyeing history with his classy mare Southern Speed.

Macdonald, who trains in partnership with his son-in-law Andrew Gluyas, has again identified the $2.65 million Caulfield Cup as the major spring target for the daughter of Southern Image.

That's despite no mare having won the world's richest 2400-metre handicap more than once.

Hall of Famers Poseidon (1906/07) and Rising Fast (1954/55) are the only horses to have won the Caulfield Cup in consecutive years, while Paris (1892 and 94), Uncle Sam (1912 and 14), Whittier (1922 and 25) and Ming Dynasty (1977 and 80) are the other multiple winners.

Macdonald will wait to see how Southern Speed returns before finalising her spring goals, but said only being unfairly weighted would prevent him from directing her towards the race she won last year carrying 52kg.

“Even though her form was pretty good, she has only won an ordinary race since the Caulfield Cup, so I didn't think she'd get weighted out of the Caulfield Cup and that's probably the best race for her,” Macdonald said.

“She's probably not really a Cox Plate horse, unless she's going better than she was last year, but I suppose that's something she's going to tell us.”

Southern Speed hasn't raced since finishing fifth in The BMW at Rosehill on 7 April. The ended a late summer/autumn campaign which included Group 1 seconds in the C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and Australian Cup (2000m).

Unlike last spring, when Southern Speed campaign solely in Melbourne, Macdonald will run Southern Speed in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) on 11 August and Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) on 25 August – both at Morphettville – before coming to Melbourne.

“She's been in work a bit over a month, she looks extremely well and she's going nicely,” Macdonald said.

“Her first run over there could be the Stocks Stakes. If that fits into the program that's where we'll be going and then it will be a weight-for-age program leading up to the Caulfield Cup. It will probably be the same route as she went last year.”

After finishing fourth in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes, which will this year be run at Moonee Valley on 15 September, Southern Speed was runner-up in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) before rounding out Caulfield Cup preparations in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

Southern Speed could have a companion in Melbourne during spring with Macdonald eyeing off some of the three-year-old features with Dinkum Diamond, a daughter of Keep The Faith who won the Group 3 The Jansz (1200m) on 12 May.

“She's had three runs, won two of the three, and I don't think there's any doubt she should have won them all,” Macdonald said. “She's a nice filly that's got to take the next step, but she is a chance to come over.”

Courtesy of Racing Victoria