Promising filly Impendabelle will have her first test at stakes level when she heads to Trentham on Saturday to contest the Gr.2 Mode Technology Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m).
The daughter of Impending was impressive when winning by 4-1/2 lengths over 900m when on debut at the Upper Hutt track last month and trainer Tony Pike has been pleased with her progress since then.
“She is a filly we have always really liked,” Pike said. “She trialled up nicely before she won impressively on debut at Wellington. It wasn’t as strong a field as it will be on Saturday, but she did it nicely.
“She has improved since then and her work has been super.
“It looks like a nice race. She has looked at the Trentham straight before and it would be good for the owners to get a Group Two win on board.
“Michael (McNab) rode her on debut, and he is sticking with her. She is an exciting filly going forward.”
An $80,000 purchase by Jim Bruford out of Hallmark Stud’s 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft, Impendabelle will be on a path towards the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Pukekohe in January following Saturday’s run.
“We will get through Saturday and then map out a programme towards the Karaka Million,” Pike said.
“She is a filly who has really improved through a couple of preps with us. She wasn’t the biggest filly when she first came in, but she has really strengthened and developed a lot over the last six months.”
She will be joined on the float trip south this weekend by stablemate Dimaggio who is set to line-up over 1400m.
The Almanzor gelding won on debut over 1300m in April before tailing the field home in the Gr.2 Spirit of Boom Classic (1200m) at Eagle Farm in May. He returned with a third placing over 1200m at Hastings earlier this month and Pike expects him to improve with more racing.
“Dimaggio still has a lot to learn,” Pike said. “He is lightly raced and did a bit wrong at Hastings but I was happy enough with his fresh-up run.
“We have been delayed by the wet tracks and I think the big track and 1400m will suit. Natural improvement should see him a nice chance.”
Meanwhile, Pike has been pleased with the way Matter Of Honour has pulled up after his third placing to Waitak in the Listed Trevor Corallie Eagle Memorial (1500m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“He is a horse who is still learning, he got a bit lost on Saturday,” Pike said.
“He is probably a better chaser than leader, he just wanted to wobble around in the straight and Michael (McNab) said he was looking at everything over the last 400m. He has only been beaten by a narrow margin and was very strong past the post when they headed him.
“He is a talented horse and I am sure he will be back in the winner’s circle shortly.
“He will go to the Great Northern Guineas (Gr.2, 1600m) on New Year’s Day.”
Stablemate Not Guilty is another runner that has lofty targets over the Christmas carnival after winning over 1100m at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“She will probably go back to Te Rapa in two weeks for the 75 1200m,” Pike said.
“If she is impressive again in that then we will probably look at running in the Hallmark Stud Handicap (Listed, 1200m) on Boxing Day.”