Regally-bred filly Aquaoir will head to Ellerslie on Saturday in preparation for a tilt at the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) next month.
The Cody Cole-trained three-year-old is a half-sister to Group One winners Loire and A Touch Of Ruby, and her connections are keen for the daughter of Ocean Park to add further black-type to her pedigree page.
She placed in her two initial starts before recording her maiden win at Matamata last month over a mile.
She drops back in distance to 1500m in the Ecochill 1500 on Saturday after Cole had to rejig his plans with her after she tied-up last month.
“It is a big step-up tomorrow (Saturday),” Cole said. “1500m is probably not really ideal for her, she just had a wee setback and that kind of changed our plans a bit.
“She just tied up a couple of times. She had never done it before and I am not quite sure what that was about. It was just a little niggle, it was nothing major, she has not done it since.
“But we missed a gallop. We were supposed to go to Matamata, which didn’t happen anyway, so nothing was really lost there.”
Cole had eyed the Sunline Vase as a major target for his filly this autumn and he said Saturday’s run is just a steppingstone to getting there.
“We had to formulate a new plan to get her to a stakes race, and that is obviously very valuable for her as a broodmare,” he said.
“It’s just a steppingstone tomorrow. I couldn’t see her being very competitive, but I would like to see her running on and finish in the first five.
“She will probably press onto the Sunline Vase if she comes through it well.”
While Cole believes Aquaoir will get better with time, he would still like to gain some black-type with her to add to her burgeoning pedigree.
“She has got two half-sisters who are Group One winners – Loire and A Touch Of Ruby,” he said. “She is quite valuable as a broodmare.
“She is going to be better as a four-year-old, but I want to give her a crack (at black-type) while the tracks are good, and there are not that many staying races left.
“Typically those last few over ground for three-year-olds can be on off tracks and that wouldn’t suit her, so we will push on for this (Sunline Vase) and see what happens.
“Her work has been very good. She worked really well on Wednesday morning. I am pretty happy with the way she is going, she has just got to make that step up.”
Looking ahead to Sunday, Cole will take two runners south to race at Hastings.
Enigmatic galloper Kinshasa will make her raceday return in the PGG Wrightson 1400 after nearly a year’s absence from the track.
The daughter of Tavistock was victorious at Tauranga last March after missing away and she continued her erratic behaviour when transferred to the care of Caulfield trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr.
“That last run in New Zealand where she won at Tauranga, she missed the kick quite badly and she continued to do that in Australia and flatly refused to jump,” Cole said.
“She came home to us (without having a start in Australia) and we took her along quietly and gave her a couple of jumpouts.
“We took her to the trials. She wasn’t really ready in that first trial, it was more about getting her out of the gates before we put too much pressure on her.
“Her last trial was satisfying. She ran into Loire, but there was plenty of improvement in her, and there still is. She has never been competitive in a 1000m trial, but at the same time she left the gates well and did everything really well.”
Sunday’s assignment will be more of an educational run than anything and Cole said he just wants to see her do everything right.
“She is going to need the run on Sunday,” he said. “We have taken all the gear off her. She has got a fair few turns of the screw yet of improvement.
“We trialled her without the blinkers and I want to give her another good experience to make sure she does everything right before we pop them back on.
“I think she will be a rough place chance. I wouldn’t say she will be a winning chance because of fitness and she always improves with a couple of runs.”
Cole will also line-up Luna Vaara in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m).
“She doesn’t have a great form line, but she is not hopeless. She is probably a prep away,” he said.
“With the blinkers on, it seems to have sharpened her up a fair bit. She worked really well on Tuesday morning.
“She is chance of being thereabouts.”