Well-performed mare Charms Star is ready to shine again in her quest to add to her black-type resume for trainer Lisa Latta.
The five-year-old will have the benefit of two runs under her belt and a home track advantage when she takes aim at the Listed Mode Technology Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at Awapuni on Saturday.
Charms Star opened her campaign with a solid effort for sixth in an open handicap over 1600m at Te Rapa before she dashed her second-up chances in the Egmont Cup (2100m) when she raced too fiercely.
“She's had a couple of runs now and we gave her a trial the other day. She just raced above herself at Hawera and pulled really hard for a lot of the race and that told in the last 200m,” Latta said.
The daughter of Per Incanto won her open 1400m heat at the Foxton trials last week and looks to have a sense of timing about an imminent return to top form.
“Safely through Saturday, she will probably head to the Counties Cup (Group 3, 2100m) next,” Latta said.
Charms Star has built a tidy record at stakes level and as a three-year-old finished runner-up in both the Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) and the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) before she relocated to Chris Waller's stable.
She ran third in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) and second in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) during the Brisbane winter carnival, but failed to produce her best during her Australian spring campaign.
It was a different story back home in the autumn when Charms Star was successful in the Group 3 Manawatu Breeders' Stakes (2000m).
Following a break, Latta had hopes of a crack at the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m), but was thwarted by circumstances beyond her control.
“The weather was against us and she doesn't like the wet tracks so it didn't work out,” she said.
By contrast, Charms Star's stablemate Make Time will ideally need a softening of the ground for the son of Makfi to continue his roll in the Courtesy Ford Red Craze Bowl (1400m).
“He's in great form and gets in at a nice weight (54kg), but he would need a bit of moisture around. It will be weather dependant with him,” Latta said.
Track conditions will determine how much further she presses on with Make Time, who has two wins and four placings from his previous seven appearances.
Tina Comignaghi has been booked to ride Charms Star and Make Time and will be looking to continue her winning association with the stable following her victory with Diss Is Dramatic in last weekend's Group 3 War Decree Stakes (1600m).
Comignaghi seized the early initiative to make all the running with the filly and they proved too strong for their male counterparts Cognito and Marlborough Bay.
“We definitely didn't intend to lead and we thought she would end up in the one-one, but they went so slowly and Tina did the right thing,” Latta said.
Stabled with Andrew Carston for her southern campaign, Diss Is Dramatic will again take on the colts and geldings in next month's Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 5.
She could also tackle the Group 1 Barneswood Farm 1000 Guineas (1600m) seven days later and is currently at a +1000 quote for both Classics.
“Andrew thought she was quite above herself last Saturday so we may look to back her up, we'll just see how she comes through the first day,” Latta said.