Stokes looks ahead to bright spring
Phillip Stokes has had a season to remember with a recent winning strike rate of 30 per cent, and the Pakenham trainer is already putting plans in place to continue the stable’s success next spring.
Stable star Mr Quickie heads up to Queensland for the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap, but many of Stokes’ other big guns have been put away for winter with big spring targets in mind.
Group 1-winning filly Instant Celebrity has headed to the paddock after her minor placing in the Group 1 Goodwood behind Savatoxl.
“She came through really well from the Goodwood after a tough run from the wide draw and having to put in a big sustained run and has come back to the Pakenham farm for the winter,” Stokes said.
“Now it’s just about mapping out what Group 1 races we target with her but the plan is probably to keep her around the 1200m-1400m mark.”
While Instant Celebrity will have a couple of weeks in the paddock before coming back with a bit of work on the water walker, the stable’s Melbourne Cup hopeful Amade will stay in work through the winter.
The import was a dominant last start winner at Flemington, an impressive display just second up after a long injury layoff with pelvis and tendon concerns.
“It gave us all a really big buzz to see what he could do second up after two years off.
“He’ll continue to do a bit of light work over the winter, just ticking over each day.
“He’s got a big set of lungs and is better the more you do with him, we definitely don’t want him putting on too much weight out in the paddock.
“We’ll look to take a traditional path to the Melbourne Cup with him through the Bart Cummings or the Geelong Cup, just need to ensure he’s qualified. He doesn’t need too much racing.
“We’re certainly not getting too ahead of ourselves going into the spring but it’s fantastic to have some great options looking ahead.”