Quality mare Letzbeglam will bid to add New Zealand black type to her record on Saturday at Pukekohe where she opens a campaign that may see her mix it at Group One level.
The Cambridge Stud-owned daughter of Snitzel reached a good level as a juvenile in Australia before she was beset by foot issues and subsequently returned to the care of the farm's private trainer Lance Noble at its Karaka property.
She has trialled well ahead of her return in the Group 3 Haunui Farm Counties Bowl (1100m), as has her younger stablemate Luberon, who will attempt to keep her unbeaten record intact in the Listed Barfoot & Thompson Challenge Stakes (1100m).
Letzbeglam won her first two starts as a juvenile, including the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield for trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young before an issue-marred three-year-old season, which resulted in her relocation to Noble's care.
After 17 months off the scene, she won on debut in New Zealand in an open handicap at Pukekohe only to be relegated to second.
That effort was enough to book her passage to the Brisbane winter carnival earlier this year with her best effort in a three-start campaign a bold third in the Group 2 Moreton Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm.
“She has obviously had a few soundness issues and when she raced at Pukekohe that gave us confidence that we had her in a pretty good spot,” Noble said.
“We took her to Brisbane and she went a blinder first-up on a pretty wet track and her next couple of runs were okay without being spectacular.
“She spelled in Queensland and then we brought her home. Instead of putting her in foal, the decision was made to keep her in work and I'm glad because she has come up really well.
“She has had a couple of trials and gone really nicely and I think she's in pretty good nick to go boldly fresh-up.”
Noble said there were a number of future options to consider with Letzbeglam and high on the wish list is a crack at the Group 1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Te Rapa on New Year's Day.
Warren Kennedy will be aboard the mare on Saturday and will also ride the Embellish two-year-old Luberon, who romped home on debut at Ruakaka in September.
“She had a couple of weeks off after that and did really well and this was always going to be her next race,” Noble said.
“She trialled at Ruakaka and ran second behind Letzbeglam, that was a pretty good effort for a two-year-old to be close up behind a Group performer.”
Noble has nominated a number of other runners on the Pukekohe undercard on Saturday, including last-start winner Iffin Doubt Dance in the Mount Shop Handicap (1600m).
“She has gone on well since winning and Aquacade will be stepping up over ground for the first time this prep after a good second over a mile and I don't think either of them will be far away,” Noble said.
Aquacade is in the Vernon & Vazey Handicap (2100m) while stakes performer Marchand will step out in the HR Fisken & Son Handicap (1600m).
“He was slightly disappointing last time at Matamata, but I think he had a couple of excuses and expect to see him bounce back,” Noble said.
Another multiple black-type placegetter in Beldarra will look turn her fortunes around in the Premier Horse Transport Handicap (14300m) following an unplaced effort in the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m).
“She just got run off her feet in a stakes race so we'll just come back a level with her,” Noble said.