Claire Anderton will try to continue her strong start to the new season when she heads to Ashburton on Friday with a potential contender for the Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
The Wingatui trainer, who has two wins under her belt from only five runners so far in the new season, will saddle Petty’s Legacy in the Barneswood Farm Stakes Day 18 October 3YO (1250m).
The unbeaten daughter of Sweynesse will jump from barrier 14, with Rohan Mudhoo booked for the ride. Petty’s Legacy’s only previous start came in an 820m race at Wingatui on February 29, when she scored a tenacious victory over Chokito in a photo finish.
That rival had won her previous start and has scored in both subsequent appearances. “It was a really good performance to win on debut,” Anderton said. “But there’s a bit of a difference between an 800m race on her home track and what we’re asking her to do this week – an overnight trip up to Ashburton, and racing first-up against a good field of three-year-olds.
“But I think her build-up has gone pretty well, apart from the fact that she was entered for a three-year-old race at Wingatui a couple of weeks ago that didn’t get enough entries to run. “Her work’s been good leading into this and I’m happy with her. We could have done with a better draw for this week, but that’s beyond our control. We’re hoping she’ll run well.”
Raced by the Southern Ness Syndicate, Petty’s Legacy holds a nomination for the New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 14. “The 1000 Guineas is definitely Plan A, and it would be absolutely fantastic if we could get her there,” Anderton said. “But there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then. She’s got to prove that she’s up to that sort of level.
“She’s up against some talented opposition tomorrow, so how she performs will give us a good idea of whether we should continue along the Guineas path or not. Even if we can’t quite get her to the 1000 Guineas, I think we can still look forward to some nice three-year-old races with her around Christmas and the New Year.”
Anderton has found a rich vein of form with her small team in recent weeks, winning races at Wingatui with Club Spirit and I’m A Tiger. “I’ve got a nice wee team at the moment who are performing well, and I’m lucky enough to have the support of a lovely group of owners,” Anderton said. “It’s been great to have some early success to start off the new season. You have to really enjoy that when it happens, because we all know it’s not always the case in racing.
“I’ve got a team of five in work at the moment. Three of them are at racing stage, and there’s another couple of young ones as well. One of those might get up to racing in this preparation, and the other one’s just having a bit of education this time in.”
A notable absentee from Anderton’s stable this season is black-type performer The Precious One, whose career ended with an unplaced finish in the Group 3 South Island Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) in March. The daughter of Darci Brahma and multiple Group 1 winner The Jewel raced in the colours of owner-breeders the Dennis Brothers. She won five of her 20 starts, headed by the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui on Boxing Day last year.
“She’s gone to stud this season,” Anderton said. “She was a lovely horse, and I don’t think we ever saw the best of her. She had such bad luck with injuries and setbacks throughout her career. “I’m glad that we got that Listed win last season, but I wish we’d had the chance to have a long, injury-free preparation with her. I think she could have achieved a lot more. But she was certainly a delight to have in the stable.”