Three weeks on from a spectacular debut on Riccarton’s synthetic track, exciting local filly Miss Take is switching to the turf and stepping up to stakes class for Saturday’s Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m).
The Terri Rae-trained filly headed into her first start on August 25 with a reputation and red-hot $1.20 favouritism, having won two trials by a combined margin of more than a dozen lengths.
It was more of the same on raceday as the daughter of Inglewood Stud stallion War Decree dominated from the front and powered clear, opening up a margin of nine and a half lengths.
“That was a pretty impressive performance on debut,” Rae said. “She’d always shown us plenty of ability, and it was really good to see her come out and do that in her first start.
“Her stablemate Maryweka ran second to her that day, and she has some ability herself and went on to win on Wednesday of this week, so that gave a nice boost to the form out of that race as well.
“Miss Take has been doing really well in between times. She’s done everything that you look for. She’s very straightforward and easy to do anything with.
She’s so laid-back, she has a great nature and she eats absolutely everything.”
Miss Take will be ridden by Michael McNab in Saturday’s black-type feature, for which she is rated a $2.70 favourite.
She races in the colours of Sydney owner Manoj Wanzare, who is shooting for his second Canterbury Belle Stakes in three years. He also shared in the ownership of Inglewood filly Matchmaker, who won the race in 2020.
Matchmaker remained in New Zealand until after the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), when she crossed the Tasman to join the stable of Chris Waller, for whom she won the Gr.3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
Depending on what distance she is best suited to, Miss Take may follow a similar path. She is currently rated a $16 chance for the 1000 Guineas on November 12.
“It’s all going to depend on what she does in her races this spring, and what distance it looks like she’ll be able to race over,” Rae said.
“If she gives us the impression that she can run out a strong mile, she’ll stay with us through to the 1000 Guineas. After this race, we might step her up in trip in the Barneswood Farm Stakes (Gr.3, 1400m) at Ashburton on October 15. But we’ll just take things one race at a time and see how she goes.
“A promising sign for her in terms of distance is that she’s just so beautifully settled in her work. Even after that debut win, where she went lickety-split out in front, we gave her three or four days off and then she was lovely and settled when she returned to her training. I think that’s pretty encouraging.”
Miss Take is one of seven runners at Riccarton on Saturday for Rae, who will also saddle the well-performed Southern Ocean in the Martin Collins New Zealand Cup Trial (1800m) and Sacred Giant in the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Rating 75 (1400m).
“Southern Ocean has taken a lot of improvement out of his first-up run,” Rae said. “I know he performed well over a mile when he was coming up through the grades, but it’s a different story in open handicaps. That was always going to be too short for him against that sort of opposition.
“Even with this race on Saturday, he’ll still be better for the run. Once he gets up to 2000m and beyond, that’s what suits him best.
“Sacred Giant has come up really well and ran a nice race first-up. He was just nutted on the line by the stablemate (Four Queens), but went super. He’s come through the race really well, and I’m pleased to have Michael McNab sticking with him.
“I’m hoping quite a few of my team will be in with nice chances on Saturday. Athene is in a race that should suit her distance-wise, and she’s working really well, and I’ve been very happy with Surcharge’s work too.”