An Oaks target is on the agenda for Aquacade in the autumn, but on what side of the Tasman that will be could be dictated by her performance at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
The Brendan and Jo Lindsay bred and raced filly will contest the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) after she added a second win to her tally from just four starts when victorious over a mile at Te Rapa earlier this month.
“Her form is good and I thought her win over a mile last start against older horses was strong,” trainer Lance Noble said.
“I think she is looking for 2000m. She has got a good barrier draw (5), so we are quietly confident with her. She hasn’t done anything wrong really.
“It is quite a big field (14), a bit bigger than I thought it would be but if she stays out of trouble I am pretty sure she will be there at the end somewhere.
“Sometimes in those big fields you need a bit of luck, but she has got a barrier draw that overcomes the size of the field so she shouldn’t get too far back.”
While expecting a strong showing from his filly on Saturday, an Oaks tilt is her major target in the autumn, but where that will be has yet to be decided.
“The Oaks is the plan, this is a steppingstone,” Noble said.
“She has always shown a bit of ability but didn’t really have a good turn of foot over a shorter distance, but she is bred to stay and that looks like what she is going to do.
“She is in the New Zealand Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m), but if she went super there is the possibility she may go to Australia.
“We feel that she will be better with a little cut out of the track so if she comes through tomorrow okay, usually in Sydney you can get a bit of wet weather so we may go that route instead of taking her all the way to Wellington for a hard track.”
Noble will also line-up Manchu in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 1400.
“She is very honest,” Noble said.
“She never runs a bad race, but she hasn’t won a race in a while. I am looking forward to going right-handed with her for a change. With the lockdown there has been a lot of racing left-handed in the Waikato.
“She has run well at Ellerslie before and we are confident that she will run well again.”
Noble was fresh off a trip to Taupo on Thursday where three-year-old filly Beldarra broke through for her maiden win in the Cosana NZ Taupo Maiden 3YO (1100m).
The daughter of Hinchinbrook had previously placed in the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) and Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (1100m), but Noble was pleased to see her get a win on the board at the seventh time of asking.
Purchased by the Lindsay’s out of Little Avondale Stud’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $115,000, Beldarra is eligible for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie next month but Noble said he will let the dust settle before deciding on her next target.
“She performed well at stakes company at two, it just took her a little while to come right in the spring, which often two-year-olds do,” Noble said.
“It was a nice race yesterday for her, it wasn’t a big field, and it was nice to get that win under her belt.”
Meanwhile, the curtain could be coming down on the racing career of Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) winner Prince Jabeel after his unplaced run in the Taupo Cup (2000m) on Thursday.
“We are going to sit down after the weekend and discuss his future,” Noble said.
“He had a tendon injury and he took a long time to come back.
“He is a lovely horse but he is an eight-year-old and whether he has got that will to want to keep competing we are not sure.
“He is one of the stable favourites and he has done a great job for us.
“He is out of Brendan and Jo’s favourite old mare (J’Adane), so we won’t risk him and we don’t want to see a horse going around for the sake of it.”