Lessons learned from La Crique’s last spring campaign will be strictly adhered to this time around with the Group One-winning mare.
Trainers Katrina and Simon Alexander have already ruled out starting the daughter of Vadamos on unsuitable ground in any lead-up outings ahead of a trip to Sydney.
La Crique is going through her early paces at their Matamata stable, which will also be represented at Thursday’s Cambridge meeting by a strong winning chance in Farrenc, ahead of another overseas venture.
“We’ve drawn a line in the sand and this year we will stick to it, she will not run on a heavy track anywhere as that was detrimental to her last spring in trying to bring her up in those conditions, so we won’t do that again,” Katrina Alexander said.
“Hopefully, the weather plays ball and a little bit of cut in the track would be fine.”
Given the right conditions, La Crique will open her spring campaign in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings.
She won the middle leg of last season’s Triple Crown series, the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m), when it was run at Matamata.
“At this stage, she will go to the open trials at Taupo and aim her for Hawke’s Bay, if that doesn’t happen, she will go straight to Australia,” Alexander said.
“We’re looking at Sydney and we’ll go when the horse is ready this time around, we’re not going to say she needs to be in a certain place at a certain time.
“There’s a couple of nice races coming up, the Five Diamonds is an 1800m race and somehow we’ll lead her into that. It’s a no panic prep and Sydney offers a few more options for her.”
The A$2 million Five Diamonds (1800m) will be run at set weights and penalties at Rosehill on November 11 and is restricted to five-year-olds.
“She’s been back for three weeks now and is looking super, she’s grown a lot and filled out,” Alexander said.
“She had a good spell and really needed to have a decent break, we’re very happy with her at the moment.”
La Crique is on target for her second trip to Australia following her fourth placing in the Gr.1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last October.
Meanwhile, her stakes-placed stablemate Farrenc will bid to return to winning form in the Waipa Earthworks Handicap (1550m) on the all-weather track at Cambridge on Thursday.
“It’s a preparation to get her confidence back, we sent her to Australia and it didn’t work out for her and she had a few issues,” Alexander said.
The daughter of Dalghar ran third in last season’s Gr.3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) behind Group One stars Imperatriz and I Wish I Win and subsequently joined Ben and JD Hayes’ stable for an unsuccessful two-start campaign.
This preparation, the half-sister to dual stakes winner Paisley Park has posted consecutive third placings at Pukekohe and Matamata.
“It’s good to see her putting a style of racing together again and we’ve always thought a mile would suit her in time and she’s starting to mould into that now,” Alexander said.
“She’s a lot more mature and we’ll give her a crack on the synthetic on race day, she’s been on it in trials and performed well enough for what we asked of her.
“It’s about putting a form line together and she’s only now reaching maturity, if you look at her half-brother Paisley Park he hit his straps a bit later.
“I don’t think she loves heavy tracks, that’s why we’re doing the experiment with the synthetic and take her through as far as we can."