Warwick Farm trainer Matthew Smith is in no hurry to get Aqua DIvina to her destiny of stakes racing; he just wants her to show she is back this spring.
Thats why the daughter of Pierro will be at Randwick on Saturday and Smith is prepared to wait with the four-year-old until the autumn as she comes back from a colic attack.
Aqua DIvina looked a black type performer in the making earlier this year when she won at Randwick in January, but within days she was fighting for her life after a bout of colic.
She was given six months to get over the effects of it, missing the chance to run in the Oaks as planned, and Smith admits he is just happy to see her back on the track.
“We had high hopes for her but when she had the colic, you just hope it doesnt take too much out of them,” he said. “Sometimes they dont come back at all, so just to see her back on the track and showing she is as good as she was is a big thing.
“This preparation is just about getting her through her grades and to a trip that we have always thought would suit her.
“She gets to 1800 metres on Saturday and it will give us a good indication where she stands. We can have another run and then we will put her away for the mares' races in the autumn.”
Aqua DIvina has a good record with three wins and three seconds from six starts and the temptation is there to head to Melbourne if she was to win strongly at Randwick.
“You want to be taking horses at the top of your game if you go to Flemington and as I said we are prepared to wait with her,” Smith said. “She has always shown above-average ability and is getting stronger all the time.
“If she was impressive on Saturday we might think about it but my preference is to give her time because she is getting better.”
Smith made sure the four-year-old mare had a solid build-up for her return with three barrier trials before she ran a close second at Warwick Farm and she followed up by winning on her home track a couple of weeks ago.
The natural next step was to Saturday grade and Smith thinks a couple of wins in Sydney would set her up to be ready for a black type campaign next year.
“When they have three or four months off like she did, you just want to see that they are happy and back in form,” Smith said.
“She is meeting a pretty good group of older stayers on Saturday that are going really well and have carnival form.
“Although she hasnt been to this trip before it is where we have always thought she would be at her best.
“We would like the track to dry out a bit more because although she handles a wet track, she is much better and sharper on firm ground where she can show her acceleration.”
Aqua DIvina is a $4.40 second favourite behind the Chris Waller-trained Zourkhan at $2.70 as he shoots for a hat-trick, with his stablemate Abdon at $6.50.
“It is a good test for her but we think, particularly being on the limit, she is going to be very competitive," Smith said.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald