Montefilia won two Group 1s in the spring and will return in Saturday’s Surround Stakes looking to add to that tally at Randwick.
Trainer David Payne is coming into the autumn with an open mind and high hopes of scaling more great heights with star filly Montefilia.
His dual Group 1 winner will make her highly anticipated return in Saturday’s Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, but it’s what comes after the weekend that looks set to define the filly’s autumn.
Payne has entered Montefilia for a plethora of feature races after Saturday, including the Coolmore Legacy, Australian Derby, Rosehill Guineas, Australian Oaks and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“We have got her in the Coolmore so we will see how she goes, but my feeling is that she will be better over the 2000m,” Payne said.
“There are plenty of options for her and we put her in everything so we will just see how we go and she will show us where she wants to go.”
Payne is likely to have a clearer picture of which way he might head following her return in the Surround.
A capacity field of 16 fillies and one emergency was declared for the Group 1 event on Wednesday morning for what shapes as a memorable edition of the three-year-old feature.
Montefilia has drawn barrier 11 for the race with Hugh Bowman booked to ride.
Bowman piloted Montefilia to victory in the Group 1 Flight Stakes last spring before Jason Collett was aboard when she beat the boys in the Group 1 Spring Champion.
Bowman was back aboard when Payne headed to Melbourne and finished third in the VRC Oaks.
Montefilia has enjoyed a break after the Oaks before returning to work at Payne’s stable near the end of December and has since been given a pair of trials in preparation for her first up test.
“She is really well, is looking good and will be ready,” Payne said.
“The 1400m on Saturday is going to be sharp but you have to kick off somewhere.
“They always need these first up runs but she is fresh.”
TAB.com.au installed Montefilia as an $11 chance when markets opened following the declaration of the final field.
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Dame Giselle holds favouritism at $4.60 with Away Game ($7), La Mexicana ($7) and Hungry Heart ($9) the only other fillies in single digits.