It seems Toby and Trent Edmonds’ lofty assessment of Vanna Girl is shared by market framers because the Queensland mare has opened up strongly fancied for Saturday’s Group 2 Tramway Stakes at Randwick.
Team Edmonds has been enamoured with Vanna Girl for some time and its opinion has been shared by jockeys Brad Stewart and Matt McGillivray, both of whom have tipped her to make the grade this spring.
Despite the 1400m of the Tramway being short of Vanna Girl’s sweet spot, Ladbrokes has her as $5 second favourite behind Dreamforce at $4.80 for the Tramway.
Vanna Girl was scheduled to leave the Gold Coast on Wednesday night and arrive in Sydney early Thursday. She will be stabled with Peter and Paul Snowden.
Unlike The Candy Man and Niccanova, who are set to have stable changes for their Sydney assignments, Vanna Girl will remain under the Team Edmonds banner, but the COVID situation does present some challenges.
Trent Edmonds said Vanna Girl will travel with her regular track rider Sebastian Beaulieu, who will oversee the preparation this week.
When Stradbroke winner Tyzone joins the interstate raid next week, it is likely Trent’s father Toby will travel south and remain interstate for some time.
“It’s just one of those things,” Trent said. “How long does it go on for? Nobody knows at the moment, but I would say Dad will go down next week. We have had this plan for some time and we have known for the past month what the horses were doing.
“The only thing we sorted late last week was whether one of us would go for the first run. It’s been pretty smooth sailing otherwise.”
Queensland has high hopes for the spring carnival. Group 1 winners Alligator Blood and Rothfire head the list but a number of good judges believe Vanna Girl can also make her presence felt.
The daughter of Husson has won seven of 10 starts, including the last three at stakes level.
She holds a nomination for the Cox Plate, but Edmonds says no plans have been made beyond Sydney, where they hope to secure a start in the Group 1 Epsom.
“You just want to see her compete at that level and confirm what we hope, and that is that she is good enough,” he said.
“I’m a realist. She was beating a bunch of three-year-old fillies that were probably common, but ratings and finishing sectionals suggest she’s pretty smart.
“She has to step up to Open grade now and if she gets to where we want to, she needs to step it up now. If it all maps out, then yes, we would love to go to Melbourne.
“Saturday is a pretty handy race and drawing out where she did, isn’t ideal.
“1400m is short of her best, but she is on target.
“She got stronger, which is funny to say, because she only had a month off. But she is bigger, a little bit broader and to be fair, maybe a little bit sharper.
“I was surprised how sharp she was out of the barriers in that 900m trial.”
NOTHDURFT GIVEN GREEN LIGHT FOR COMEBACK
Baylee Nothdurft has landed a week ahead of schedule as he prepares for his first ride as a fully-fledged jockey at Ipswich on Thursday.
Queensland’s leading rider has been out of the saddle since a trackwork incident in July left him with a shattered jaw. Surgeons inserted a plate to hold it together and Nothdurft has been pleased with the way it has healed.
“They originally said it would be six weeks after the operation but I had an appointment at the five-week mark and was given the all-clear,” he said.
“I got the clearance last Wednesday and have been back at trackwork since then. I rode my first trials at the Gold Coast (on Tuesday) and the jaw has been really good.
“You can feel the plate when (you touch your face) but I don’t notice it when I’m eating.”
While the jaw has given him no troubles, Nothdurft admitted it will take him a couple of weeks to regain full fitness and he’s starting off with rides around the 57kg mark before he sheds more weight.
“It took a bit of fitness out of me so I will ease my way back into it. The body pulled up a bit stiff after those first few days of trackwork,” he said.
Former master Tony Gollan has afforded Nothdurft what looks an ideal comeback ride in the shape of The Move, who is a $1.45 chance to win the second event at Ipswich.
Nothdurft, who is the first junior rider to win a Brisbane premiership since Michael Rodd and Zac Purton almost two decades ago, is now a senior rider.
Originally published as Vanna Girl steps up for next big challenge