A convincing first-up win in the mud at Mornington has earned lightly-raced mare Raven’s Blaze a trip to Sydney, and it may not just be for the weekend.
The Victorian raider will take her place in the Randwick Community Day Handicap (1000m) with trainer Tony Noonan keen to give her a road trip as part of her development.
If she performs to expectations, the four-time winner’s stay could be extended.
“There wasn’t a lot for her in the program here (in Victoria) and I’ve found over the years that horses who have a bit of upside really benefit from a trip,” Noonan said.
“There’s a similar race in a fortnight’s time so if she performs well, there’s a nice option to look to in a fortnight and if she doesn’t, we come home with our tail between our legs.”
Noonan has left no stone unturned in preparing Raven’s Blaze for her Sydney assignment.
She has worked extensively in the reverse direction at home in Melbourne and did some extra fine-tuning with a jump out in the clockwise direction at Mornington on Wednesday.
Noonan said she handled the change well and provided she could do the same under race conditions he expected her to be competitive.
“As long as she handles the trip and the pressure of it race day, I think she’s going to run really well,” he said.
The Sydney trip will be a family affair with Noonan’s jockey son Jake booked to ride Raven’s Blaze at Randwick.
While the hoop is based in Victoria, he has experience riding in Sydney and more importantly, he has won on Raven’s Blaze.
“Before he started his apprenticeship he used to come up and ride out for Gai (Waterhouse),” Noonan said of Jake.
“He’s had a bit of experience this way and he’s got a really good understanding of the mare, she’s a little bit quirky, so I’m really grateful for the fact he’s going to head up the highway and help us.”
Markets had Raven’s Blaze at $16 on Thursday with the James Cummings-trained Deity a $3 favourite.