Australian Thoroughbred

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26/3/2018  UK hope alive for Shoals

Andrew Eddy@fastisheddy

Dual Group 1-winning filly Shoals will bypass the remainder of the Sydney Carnival and will instead be tested for a Royal Ascot trip via the G1 Sangster Stakes in Adelaide in May.

Trainer Anthony Freedman confirmed on Monday that Shoals was unlikely to return to Sydney despite being a last-start winner of the G1 Surround Stakes at Randwick earlier this month.

"We are just treading water with her at the moment," Freedman said. "She'll probably go to the Sangster so won't go back to Sydney.

"We just thought Sangster was the perfect race and if she won there, I think there would be a strong push to do the UK thing.

"It's certainly still an option."

Six years ago, the unbeaten champion Black Caviar went to Adelaide to win the Sangster Stakes and Goodwood before travelling to England to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and that is the same race Shoals will contest if she makes the trip.

Shoals endured a reaction to an injection recently but Freedman said that the Sangster was always in the back of his mind as the conditions of the race made great appeal for a filly with her record.

"She did have an adverse reaction but that was very much secondary (in the decision process)," he said.

With Shoals taking a new direction this autumn, Freedman said his stable is likely to just have the one runner in Sydney over the next few weeks in the shape of former Japanese galloper Ambitious, who tackles Saturday's $1.5 million G1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill.

"I'm happy with him and he goes into the race in good order," Freedman said. "He's fitter from the other day and he's probably adapting better.

"A smaller field, drawn better, hopefully he can take up a closer spot in the run."

Ambitious made his Australian debut in the Australian Cup at Flemington where he settled last of the 12 runners but made some late ground to be beaten just four lengths.

Freedman said that while his stable may just have the one runner over the Carnival in Sydney, he said the Brisbane Winter Carnival was a different matter with horses such as Mr Sneaky, Bedford and Tavistock Abbey being earmarked for Queensland.

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