A setback stifled Touch Of Mink's black-type aspirations over autumn so Matthew Smith is pointing the promising filly towards the Sunshine Coast Guineas.
The Group Three mile at the tail end of the Queensland winter carnival has been a focus for the three-year-old, who has already raced in elite company.
Touch Of Mink contested the Group One Surround Stakes at Randwick in early March, where she was unplaced after being sluggish away.
She also missed the start - by four lengths - in the Group Three Kembla Grange Classic, the catalyst for her Warwick Farm-based trainer to send her for a freshen-up.
Touch Of Mink made amends at Kembla Grange when she broke her maiden in April and then went back-to-back after a let-up by claiming the Supporterhub Handicap at Randwick on May 26.
Smith is now auditioning Touch Of Mink for the Guineas on June 30 through Saturday's Ascot Restaurant Sale Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill, where she drew barrier one with Jay Ford in the field of 14.
"I was a bit unsure the other day at Randwick whether she was forward enough in condition to win but she'd obviously done enough work and she's come on from then," he said.
"I think she'll be really strong at the mile with this run under her belt."
Touch Of Mink already has black type on her record thanks to a third placing in the Group Two Fillies Classic (1600m) at Moonee Valley in October.
"It'd be nice if we can secure a black-type win for her before she turns four," Smith said.
Although Touch Of Mink has started in top flight company, Smith admitted she was still a work in progress.
"In the back of our minds, we didn't think she'd be a Magic Millions type of two-year-old," Smith said.
"We'd have liked to have gone through to some of those better races in the autumn but she had a bit of a hiccup so we're looking at a later spring campaign after the Guineas.
"We've had to take our time with her. I think she's got a lot of strengthening up to do and next preparation she'll be better again."
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