Quintessa looking to cause Australian Guineas upset

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Legarto catapulted herself into the spotlight in last year's $1 million Group 1 (1600m), and Te Akau Racing is hopeful another Kiwi filly can follow suit in the Flemington feature on Saturday.

That filly is , a daughter of Award that has only once finished out of the top two in seven raceday starts, with her quartet of victories including the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in January.

Mark Walker, and his co-trainer Sam Bergerson, gave Quintessa her biggest challenge to date in last month's Group 1 (1400m) at Te Rapa, and she lost no admirers in a barnstorming run into fourth behind , recording the fastest closing sectionals in a quality field.

“We were stoked with her run, she got back and rattled off some really good sectionals late on a track that was probably hard to make ground on,” Bergerson said.

“She was a three-year-old filly against some hardened older weight-for-age horses, so it gave us the confidence to put her on the plane and take on the Aussies.”

Quintessa soon headed across the Tasman to join Te Akau's Cranbourne base headed by assistant trainer , with reports she has settled in well ahead of her assignment on Saturday, where she will be partnered by last year's winning Mick Dee.

“She galloped really well on , Mick rode her, and the team said she's handled everything really well since she arrived there,” Bergerson said.

“We're very pleased with how she is heading into Saturday, it's hard to know how she will go against some of the best three-year-olds in Australia, but we're confident she can run a good race.”

One of just two fillies in the 16-horse affair, Quintessa is currently rated a +1700 chance with horse racing bookmakers jumping from barrier eight, directly alongside +140 favourite Riff Rocket, Chris Waller's Group 1 Derby (2500m) winner.

Fellow Kiwi The Pendragon, now based with trainer Michael Moroney at Flemington, is just adrift in the market at +2000.

“We think the New Zealand form will stack up well with her and Pendragon, she's a little bit friendless in the market, but on her day, she's more than capable,” Bergerson said.

“She's a Group One winner over a mile at Trentham, and the Flemington track is quite similar being a big, roomy course.

“She's pretty adaptable, she can go forward or back, so I'm guessing they'll leave it up to Mick really, the draw gives her a few options.”

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