Newcastle trainer Kris Lees expects In Her Time to bounce back from her Everest run in the $2 million VRC Sprint Classic (1200 metres) on Saturday and book an overseas trip in her final season of racing.
The seven-year-old mare, owned by Orbis Bloodstock and Newcastle's Peter Brown, was four-lengths ninth in the $14 million Everest (1200m) on October 19 at Randwick. It was her first start since sixth in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) down the straight at Flemington in March.
Her two starts before that were on the straight course when winning the Lightning (1000m) in February and when second in the 2018 VRC Sprint Classic.
She was beaten just a third of a length by Santa Ana Lane in the race last year and he was a $2.20 favourite on Friday with TAB Fixed Odds to go back-to-back.
In Her Time was $9.50 for the VRC Sprint Classic and Lees was confident of a strong second-up run.
"Despite that tough race in the Everest, she's bounced out of it pretty well," Lees said from Melbourne.
"She worked well Tuesday and she got down here in good order. I can't see her not running well. Whether she can turn the tables on a couple of them, we'll see, but she'll be right in the race."
Quarantine changes last year ended plans to take In Her Time to Hong Kong but connections are keen to go this time. She has been nominated for the $3.7 million Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) next month but Lees said: "She needs to run well tomorrow. If she does, she's a big chance of getting there."
Lees will back up Aliferous in the group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on Saturday following her impressive finish when second over 1700m at Flemington on Tuesday.
The four-year-old was $16 to win on the four-day turnaround. She was fourth in the ATC Oaks and third in the Queensland Derby one week after other races.
"She's backed up well before," Lees said. "It's a competitive race in stakes and mares company but she'll run well."
Regimental Band appears Lees' best chance at Flemington. She will step up to 1400m from 1200m in the listed Springtime Stakes for three-year-old fillies.
"It should suit her," he said of the distance. "It's a step in grade too, but she's looking like she wants the 1400 and she gets her opportunity in stakes company."
Red Cardinal will contest the group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) after a two-lengths fourth in the Geelong Cup to Melbourne Cup runner-up Prince Of Arran.
"The track was pretty firm that day," Lees said of Geelong. "He should run well tomorrow. The bit of give in the track will suit him."
He said Mustajeer was recovering from his disappointing Melbourne Cup run and would spell ahead of a potential campaign at the group 1 BMW (2400m) in the autumn.
Mustajeer was second-last in the Cup after travelling wide for most of the 3200m.
"He knew he'd been in the race, but he's fine," Lees said.
"He'll come home and have a bit of a rest and we'll prepare for the early autumn. The BMW is probably a nice race for him."