Australia

Epsom ‘tailor-made’ for lightweight hope Vanna Girl

Father and son training team Toby and Trent Edmonds put their heads together after exciting Queensland mare Vanna Girl’s promising first-up run at Randwick a month ago and decided to deploy her straight to the Epsom Handicap.

It was originally thought the rising star might have another lead-up run but watching the mare finish off strongly in the Tramway Stakes over 1400m — albeit finishing ninth of 11 behind Dreamforce — had the Edmonds team licking their lips.

Vanna Girl, the winner of seven from 11 and unbeaten at a mile, now finds herself in Saturday’s Epsom with the lightweight of 50kg on her back and with father and son Edmonds excited about her prospects.

It is Vanna Girl’s first crack at Group 1 company, but Trent Edmonds insists the Epsom over 1600m is ‘tailor-made’ for the mare who will be ridden by Robbie Dolan.

“I can tell you she is going into the Epsom a month between runs by design,” Trent Edmonds said.

“We just thought she was really winding up the other day at the 1400m and we didn’t want to dull her brilliance so we just thought we would go to the Epsom second-up.

“Her last 600m in the Tramway was good, the last 100m was really good, Dad and I put our heads together and thought if we ran her again and backed her up two weeks, it would maybe just make her a little bit dour for the 1600m of the Epsom.

“She was super in the Tramway, we got out of it what we wanted, she settled back and ripped up through the line.

“She ran ninth of 11 but she was finishing pretty quick.

“We are never going to get another chance like this with her with 50kg on her back in a big Group 1 handicap.

“The race is tailor made for her.”

Vanna Girl took all before her in the Brisbane winter carnival as she won four in a row, culminating in the Group 2 The Roses.

Toby Edmonds said at the time he believed he had a Caulfield Cup or even Cox Plate filly on his hands, so glowing was he in his assessment.

Vanna Girl, a sister to Edmonds’ handy mare Plucky Girl, cost $40,000 as a yearling and has already earned more than $370,000.

The training team think she is up to winning the $1 million Epsom, a giant-killing feat which would tip her prizemoney close to the $1 million mark.

“I reckon a couple of horses will go forward from wide and that should generate a bit of speed,” Trent Edmonds said.

“With 50kg you don’t want to be too far off them, because she has got such a lightweight you certainly want to make use of it.

“So if we are midfield with a bit of cover, that would be spot on.

“I know her runs have been at an inferior grade to what she faces in the Epsom, but she has won four from four at a mile.

“In time she is going to be a really nice 2000m mare and maybe even further.

“But the Epsom is perfect for her right now.”

Tyzone’s win the 2020 Stradbroke was the Edmonds’ first Group I win but they are convinced more are on the way with Vanna Girl.

So where to after the Epsom for Vanna Girl, who holds nominations for the Cox Plate and also the Golden Eagle?

“The Golden Eagle is a huge carrot and you get one crack at it for massive prizemoney – but my gut feeling is Vanna Girl will extend further in distance rather than go back to 1500m,” Trent Edmonds said.

“But we just want to see what happens Saturday.

“Nothing is set in concrete, all the eggs are in one basket for Saturday.”

Vanna Girl, who has drawn barrier 15, is priced at $18 to win the Epsom.

It would give Queenslanders a boost as racing fans in the Sunshine State were deflated when Group 1 star Rothfire was injured last Saturday and is now set to spend more than a year on the sidelines.

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