Promising filly Orchestral will spearhead a strong stable challenge on the two-year-old events at Hastings on Thursday.
An early tilt at black-type had been on the cards for the daughter of Savabeel, but a threatening northern weather forecast this weekend has trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood changing tack.
“We had been looking at the Listed race (Barfoot & Thompson Futurity Stakes, 1400m) at Pukekohe, but with the prospect of a bad track there we’re probably going to turn toward Hastings,” James said.
Orchestral impressed at the first time of asking at Pukekohe last month where she charged home to finish a close second behind the highly regarded Just A Floozie after she was slow to leave the barrier.
The high-priced youngster will get the opportunity to go one better in the Agritrade Valagro Maiden (1200m) at Thursday’s Hawke’s Bay meeting.
“She was terrific first time, she has come through quietly and I wouldn’t say she stood up straight away. She has looked better the more I’ve done with her,” James said.
The stable also has Hasstobereel in the event while Paragon and Monsoon Knight will contest the Nufarm 2yo Maiden (1200m) a race later.
A son of Embellish, Paragon finished runner-up on debut at Hastings toward the end of last month while Highland Reel youngster Hasstobereel was unplaced first time out and Vadamos juvenile Monsoon Knight placed in his sole lead-up trial.
Bred by Barneswood Farm, Orchestral was purchased out of Haunui Farm’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale for $625,000.
“She’s a Savabeel and they just improve with time, that’s the way she’s bred and it suggests she will as well. She has a lovely attitude so there’s a lot of upside to her I would think,” James said.
The filly is out of the O’Reilly mare Symphonic, a multiple winner and Group performer, from the family of the Group One winners Daffodil, Aegon and Atishu.
Orchestral is raced by long-term stable clients Colin and Helen Litt, who also raced the stakes placed duo of Elate and Achieve.
The latter disappointed when she tailed the field home in a Benchmark 78 handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.
“She came through the race well, but it was a head scratcher and she’s back home now,” James said.
Meanwhile, stable star Prowess has returned to the stable after a break following her victory stroll in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in March.
“She came back on Monday and worked this morning and has put on about 36kg since she went out, which she needed to do and looks very well,” James said.
“There are a lot of options for her in the spring and it’s going to be one race at a time and we’ll probably start her off in Melbourne.”
Prowess has enjoyed a stellar season and also beat the older horses in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m) after earlier successes in the Listed Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) and Group Two wins in the David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) and the Auckland Guineas (1600m).