Three-year-old filly Third Time Round has yet to break maiden ranks from six starts, but the Chrissy Bambry-trained daughter of Tivaci shapes as a strong contender in Friday’s Listed Grangewilliam Stud "'Derryn" Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth.
Third Time Round was a last-start fourth behind top filly La Crique in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) and finished fifth to Shamus in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) at the start prior.
Those form-lines look solid enough to put her in the frame for Friday’s contest, with the race postponed nearly two weeks after heavy rain and a nasty slip forced the abandonment of the New Plymouth meeting on February 5.
Third Time Round was an acceptor for last Saturday’s Gr.2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa, but Bambry opted to scratch the filly due to another deluge.
“I thought she would have been very competitive in the race last Saturday but the rain on Friday night put her out of contention,” she said.
“She has a brilliant turn of foot and she excels on Dead6 or better. That rain made it a bit too shifty for her so I elected to scratch her and save her for another day.
“This race looks like it has come up okay. The company is not as elite, but it is still very hard to win a race. There are some good fillies in there going towards the Oaks so their connections obviously think a lot of them but it would be nice to think our filly will be competitive and it is a little bit of a step back from her last start.”
Bambry said the filly had been luckless at her past two outings and was hoping for smooth sailing on Friday, with the inside barrier and Johnathan Parkes to ride.
“She got a big check in the Wellington Guineas and lost a couple of lengths and then she got hammered coming out of the gates last start and Leith (Innes) thought she probably should have run second,” Bambry said. “It was a pretty good run to pick herself up and still run fourth.”
Longer-term, Third Time Round’s future lies across the Tasman after being sold to Victorian interests.
“I think while she is still going well and feeling well and there are a few races for her here they will leave her here. They won’t leave her here long though and her future racing will be in Melbourne.
“When I first started training her the Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m) probably wasn’t the target, that’s why she’s not nominated. Everything that has been thrown at her she has coped with and Leith said he felt she would be a lovely 2000m horse.
“It is just a matter of taking it race by race because it is a big ask to do it all in one prep like she is doing.”
Meanwhile, Bambry will have another pair of runners on Friday including Scotch, who will back-up in the six-horse Revital Fertilisers Rating 74 over 1200m, while Bambry is still weighing up whether to line-up first-starter How Unusual in the maiden 1600m or 1800m.
“How Unusual is a nice staying filly. She had a jump out on Tuesday and ran a really nice third,” Bambry said.
“I late nominated Scotch for the 74 1200 because there were only five nominations.
“The Te Rapa track last Saturday was a little bit unsuitable for him because of the rain but Ashvin Goindasamy rode him really well and he settled beautifully because there was so much pace on.
“I’m just hoping there is pace on again. He still does a bit wrong and when he pulls his head off at the start he can never finish off.”