Precocious filly Impendabelle lost her unbeaten record at her last appearance, but through little fault of her own and hasn’t missed a beat in her build-up to the stiffest test of her fledgling career.
She will chase New Zealand’s richest pot of two-year-old gold in Saturday’s Doubletree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Pukekohe and currently shares the fourth line of betting as a $7 chance.
Impendabelle nailed down her spot in the $1 million feature before Christmas with an explosive spring debut victory at Trentham and returned there last month to triumph in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m).
The chestnut was then given a look around Pukekohe and, from an outside gate over 1100m, performed as well as expected when she came from second to last to finish third behind Million favourite Tokyo Tycoon.
“It was always about giving her run at the track and barrier draws are always key,” trainer Tony Pike said.
“We probably could have tried to push forward, but there looked to be a lot of speed in the race so we erred on the side of caution and rode her quietly.
“It was a really good run and she was a long way off them and probably couldn’t have finished any closer than she did.”
Impendabelle has breezed through the outing and a better barrier on Saturday will further boost the daughter of Impending’s chances.
“She’ll have her final hit-out tomorrow morning and at this stage everything seems A okay with her,” Pike said.
The Cambridge conditioner’s previous best result in the Karaka Million came in the 2017 edition when Felton Road finished third behind Melody Belle.
“I’ve had four or five runners, but haven’t had a lot of luck with draws to be fair,” he said.
Bred by the Smithies family’s Monovale Farm, Impendabelle was purchased out of Hallmark Stud’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale by Brewers Bloodstock for $85,000.
“She is a very laid-back filly and has been pretty easy to do anything with. She’s has been quite straight forward the whole way through,” Pike said.
A half-sister to Impendabelle by So You Think will be offered on behalf of Monovale by Lansdowne Park as Lot 36 at Karaka on January 29.
Pike will be light on numbers at Pukekohe on Saturday, but will hold a strong hand in the Collinsonforex Karaka Cup (2200m).
Two-time stakes winner Tutukaka barely raised a sweat when successful last time out in the Taupo Cup (2000m) while Rapid Falls will be defending her title in the feature staying event on the program.
“Tutukaka was brilliant the other day and he worked outstandingly well at Pukekohe this morning and I think he will go very close,” Pike said.
The son of Tavistock appreciated the step up to a middle distance at Taupo and delivered exactly the winning performance his trainer had been expecting.
Rapid Falls finished fourth in the Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) two runs back before she was seventh in the Gr.3 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2400m).
“She obviously won this race last year and will be up in the weights a little bit,” Pike said.
“She’s probably not quite in the same form as 12 months ago, although she has been going solid races and has been hindered by wet tracks,” Pike said.