THE engagement of champion country rider Greg Ryan for Cristal Beauty in the Christmas Cup at Dubbo is a strong pointer to the mare's chances.
Prepared by Peter Bloomfield at Scone, the four-year-old daughter of Royal Academy is first-up on today from a 151-day spell.
She has has excellent first-up statistics of two wins from three attempts.
She won a Newcastle maiden on debut on March 10 last year and resumed to win after 23 weeks over 1280m at Gunnedah on December 1 last year.
Bloomfield had a high enough opinion of the mare to run her in the Scone Guineas (1400m) where she finished 5-1/4 lengths ninth to Taxmeifyoucan.
Ryan was aboard the mare when she scored over 1200m at Tamworth on May 31, three runs before her current spell.
Cristal Beauty has won from 900m to 1300m but first -up over 1400m breaks new ground.
"The mare is going along OK," Bloomfield said. "She hasn't had a trial or a jump-out but she's been in work for a good couple of months.
"First-up over 1400 metres might be a bit of an ask but it's been hard to find a suitable race for her.
"Having Greg aboard certainly helps."
Cristal Beauty's dam, Danehill mare Morning Light has been a good producer.
"Her two half-sisters Excellent Morning and Tokyo Light have won multiple races," Bloomfield said.
"Morning Light has had a few colts but the mares seem to go better."
Bloomfield admits Cristal Beauty isn't the easiest horse to train.
"She can be very temperamental," he said. "She's got attitude plus, big time.
"She works hard on the track and you've got to be careful she doesn't overdo it."