Racing: Full speed ahead for mare

Despite shocker on Saturday Caulfield Cup still on agenda for 2011 winner.

Leon Macdonald has shrugged his shoulders after the Turnbull Stakes flop with Southern Speed.  Photo / Getty Images
Leon Macdonald has shrugged his shoulders after the Turnbull Stakes flop with Southern Speed. Photo / Getty Images

Caulfield Cup champion Southern Speed will defend her crown, despite a career-worst performance in the Turnbull Stakes on Saturday.

Co-trainer Leon Macdonald confirmed on Sunday that the South Australian superstar will push on to the race on October 20, when she is attempting to create history by becoming the first mare to win it twice.

Neither the Morphettville horseman nor the vet could find anything wrong with Southern Speed, 24 hours after she finished a disappointing 15th in the Turnbull.

While Southern Speed endured a torrid run at Flemington, always trapped wide from barrier 14, Macdonald was left scratching his head after she failed to fire a shot in the straight, eventually finishing seven lengths behind the winner Green Moon.

"She seems all right, I can't fault her, really," Macdonald, who trains with his son-in-law Andrew Gluyas, told the Herald Sun.

"She missed the start and travelled four-deep the trip - she had a horrible run.

"She might have jarred up just slightly, but I'm not blaming that. We'll put it down to circumstances."

It was an uncharacteristic effort from the Southern Image 5-year-old, who has finished outside the top five in only four of her 24 starts.

While it's not unusual for mares to throw up a bad performance, it's not in Southern Speed's nature.

"That's the thing that concerns you a little bit, she just doesn't do it," Macdonald said. "We certainly expected her to go much better."

Macdonald struggled to understand the effort straight after the race, but his mood had lifted yesterday.

As TAB Sportsbet wound her price for the Caulfield Cup out to $17, he remained optimistic.

"Of course she can bounce back," Macdonald said.

"They can all run a bad race, her run might not have been much worse than Manighar's was a fortnight ago.

"Let's see what happens, it's onwards and upwards from here."

Southern Speed ate up well after the race and will have a light week on the training track as she prepares for the 2400m classic. Macdonald said Glen Boss still has first right of refusal on the Caulfield Cup ride.

- NZ Herald

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