“Fillies target South Australian features”

Shannon Hope says his tough filly Sabatini deserves a Group 1 victory and has his fingers crossed it comes in the William Hill Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.

The gun three-year-old has already placed at the top level, having run third in the Thousand Guineas last year, and has won races at Group 2 –Angus Armanasco Stakes – and Group 3 – Kevin Hayes Stakes – level this campaign, so there’s only one thing missing from her resume.

Hope, who trains with his father Lee at Seymour, thinks Sabatini can measure up in the $400,000 feature.

“You get all biased about your own horses and that, but she’s a gutsy little filly – she deserves a Group 1,” he said.

“If she can do it at three, that’d be great.”

The filly flew home at caulfield last start, coming from last to be beaten two lengths by Politeness, an $8 chance in Saturday’s feature.

Hope says she’s settled into Adelaide well and there are no excuses.

“I can’t fault her,” he said. “She’s fit, she’s well, we just need a bit of luck.

“Barrier 10 doesn’t worry me. There’ll be plenty of speed in it and she’ll be sitting midfield.”

Blake Shinn, Hope’s step-brother, takes the ride with regular jockey Nick Hall, opting to stick with Vain Queen.

Shinn will also combine again with star filly Fenway – who delivered the stable its maiden Group 1 success in the Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill last start in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m).

An abscess caused a few concerns for the team a couple of weeks ago but that’s all sorted now and the five-week break between runs isn’t a worry.

“We had a setback with (Fenway’s foot), but in total we only missed two day’s work. My wife has worked overtime soaking, dressing – she’s done a great job,” Hope said.

“We haven’t lost any fitness and if you want to take a positive I probably wouldn’t have run in the ATC Oaks because of the state of the track.

“She’s settled into Adelaide brilliantly, like she did in Sydney. Her work was pretty sharp on Tuesday – fitness isn’t a problem, she just needs luck in running.”

Barrier six is perfect with Shinn likely to ride her the same way he did last start – settling just behind the speed.

With the TAB rating Fenway a $4.50 chance and Sabatini at $10, there’s a chance of a Group 1 double for the stable.

It would be a fair effort for the team, considering they’ve had just four starters at the highest level.

“It’s taken us a long time to win a Group 1 race, but then again we haven’t had a hell of a lot of Group 1 runners,” Hope said.

“The chances of winning two in a day is highly unlikely, but it’s got to happen one day.

“I hope it’s this Saturday.”

Tom Biddington @ Racing.com

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