Yasnat’s ability on firm ground will be put to the test when the mare tries to give Canberra trainer Matthew Dale another win a Highway Handicap in Sydney.
Yasnat resumes in Saturday’s 1100m race at Warwick Farm and if she can win, Dale will join Matthew Dunn as the leading trainer of Highway Handicap winners.
Dale has won five Highway races which are restricted to country-trained horses.
He said his question with Yasnat heading into her summer return was that all her wins have been on heavy tracks.
“She’s a very effective wet tracker and we do have her up in the middle of summer. So that is the question mark for mine, how she responds to the firmer surfaces,” Dale said.
“I gave her four starts last preparation for three wins and one failure and the one failure was on a firm track. All three wins for me were on heavy surfaces, so I suppose you’re guarded until you see them race effectively right on top of the ground.”
Dale said he was happy with the mare’s jump-out on the synthetic track at Canberra last week and said she worked well in a grass gallop on Tuesday.
“From an inside gate, if the firmer track does not pose any problems I would imagine she would be right in the thick of things,” he said.
Yasnat had one start for trainer Mick Price in July 2015 before joining Dale’s team.
She won twice at Canberra in June last year before winning a fillies race at Moonee Valley.
Her campaign came to an end after she was unplaced at Caulfield on July 30.
“It was her first time out to 1200 metres that day and she had come a long way in one preparation,” Dale said.
“She went straight for a spell after that and she’s come back and it looks a nice race for her to kick off in.”
Dale would have liked a 1000m race first-up but said the Highway Handicap was the right option in the right time frame.
He also believes the Warwick Farm 1100m is not as tough as some other courses.
Yasnat is at $8 in an early market with Pumpkin Pie the $2.60 favourite.