Kelly Schweida optimistic heading into the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes

Some encouraging feedback from one of the country’s best jockeys has trainer Kelly Schweida optimistic that El Morzillo can handle a distance rise in the Group Two Sires’ Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm.

The filly will extend to 1400 metres for the first time on Saturday and Schweida admits he isn’t sure whether the extra 200 metres will be a bridge too far.

But he is happy to back the opinion of hoop Craig Williams, who has partnered El Morzillo in her past two runs including her closing fourth behind Eneeza and Golden Slipper winner Lady Of Camelot in the Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) two starts ago.

“Whether she runs 1400, I don’t know, but Craig Williams seems to think she will,” Schweida said.

“I’m happy to go there, she has done well since her last run, and you don’t know until you try them.”

El Morzillo has showed above average ability from the outset, finishing runner-up in the Listed Calaway Gal Stakes (1000m) on debut in December before notching Group placings at her past two starts in the Percy Sykes Stakes and Champagne Classic, both over 1200m.

She has drawn well in barrier four for Saturday’s Group 2 assignment and Schweida is banking on a conservative ride to help El Morzillo see out the journey.

“Her three best runs have been when we’ve ridden her quiet so I think riding her quiet and getting her to the big track will suit her, but only time will tell,” he said.

“The competition will get stronger with (James) Cummings’ horse (Group 1 winner Broadsiding) coming up, it has got really good formlines.

“But the race she ran in in Sydney, the Percy Sykes, it was a strong formline too. You had the Golden Slipper winner in there running second, so it all depends whether she can run 1400.”

El Morzillo is by dual Group 1 winning sprinter Star Witness, who only raced once beyond 1200m for a stakes placing, while her dam Avocado was a winner over 950m at her only race appearance.

The locally trained youngster is a $5 second favourite in her bid to become the sixth filly to win the Sires’ Produce Stakes in the past 20 years with Sheeza Belter in 2022 the most recent.

Godolphin’s Champagne Stakes winner Broadsiding remains a $3.80 favourite despite his wide draw in barrier 21.

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