Summer ain't over yet


It has been some summer for trainer Danny O'Brien's hot filly Summer Sham, and Saturday's Group 2 TAB Kewney Stakes (1400m) will in some ways be a litmus test to see how long they push on with her in the autumn.

The daughter of Hot Summer Night has lit it up with three wins from three starts, including last start in the G2 Angus Armanasco Stakes at Caulfield - that race being one of three key form races in the Kewney, along with the Typhoon Tracy Stakes (Moonee Valley) and the Vanity (Flemington).

All O'Brien and Daniel Moor - on board for all three victories - are worried about on Saturday is getting her through start number four unscathed and with her record intact, having rocketed to an 84 handicap rating in the infancy of her racing career.

"She's done everything right. When we took her to the races [first time], we were confident that she would go well but every start she's stepped up to the plate," O'Brien's racing manager Matt Harrington said.

"She's gone from maiden, to 64 grade, then was dominant in a Group 2 last time.

"She's exciting, and we're looking forward to seeing how she goes this weekend."

Naturally being her first prep, the Flemington stable is wary of not overdoing it with Summer Sham - but given they have signed up with her for the Kewney, it is certainly all systems go into a hot race.

"It has been a big ask [being her first prep], but she's handled everything - we wouldn't be doing it to her if we weren't confident she could handle it," Harrington added.

"She's bounced out of her last run really well, so why not go around on her home track over 1400m, and hopefully she can be dominant again.

"Daniel's on board her - he knows the horse very well. He's done a lot of work with her back home.

"She was a two-year-old we had a high opinion of, we just had to put her away and give her more time and we're reaping the dividends now.

"Given it's her first racing prep, it's been a big six weeks. Six weeks ago, she had never raced. Now we're going for 4/4, and hopefully she can get it done for us.

"Danny did talk about possibly going to Sydney if she continued to hold up, but that's something we've got to take at a run at a time. If she gets through Saturday and is 4/4, it'd be hard not to go up there."

Meanwhile, the ultra-consistent Portman is second-up into the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy over 1400m.

The Benchmark 84 conditions are exactly what he won over second-up last prep, and coming off a fourth behind the Newmarket Handicap-bound Ken's Dream and Lucky Liberty, the camp is confident of history repeating.

"Second-up over 1400m in 84 - that formula won last time. We're hoping he can do it again," Harrington said.

"His run was really good down the straight behind Ken's Dream - it's going into the Newmarket on Saturday.

"So we've got confidence he'll run well.

"He's a horse we've had a high opinion of. He's just been a trick, he's had a lot of issues here and there, but we've got him right and hopefully he can get the job done on Saturday."

Story by Luke Sheehan & Sam Doran for Racing.com

Pic by Racing Photos

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