True Excelsior is scheduled to make her return on Bletchingly Stakes day at Caulfield but co-trainer Troy Corstens plans to kick off the stakes-placed mare’s campaign in a race against her own sex rather than in the feature event.
Rising five-year-old True Excelsior is nominated for Saturday’s weight-for-age Group Three Bletchingly (1200m) but Corstens says the mare will resume in the 1100m handicap for fillies and mares on the same program with a view to stepping back up to stakes level at her next start on the straight course at Flemington.
True Excelsior campaigned in New Zealand during the summer, finishing 10th in the Group One Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham in January before running fifth in the Group One BCD Sprint (1400m), won by Melody Belle, at Te Rapa on February 9 at her most recent start.
“I’ll run her in the 1100 on Saturday and then it’s two weeks into the Aurie’s Star,” Corstens said.
“She’ll run really well and that will top her right off for the Aurie’s Star at Flemington.
“She goes very well down the straight.”
True Excelsior was third in the Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m) over the straight 1200m at Flemington on January 1 this year before she travelled to New Zealand.
Corstens said True Excelsior was a valuable broodmare and she could head off to the breeding barn this spring but her next couple of runs would be telling as to whether she pressed on for another season of racing.
Acceptances for the Caulfield meeting are taken on Wednesday with star filly Mystic Journey headlining the 20 nominations for the Bletchingly, Melbourne’s final stakes race of 2018/19.
Trainer Grahame Begg said last-start Winter Championship Series Final runner-up Romancer would remain in Melbourne to run in Saturday’s 1400m handicap at Caulfield rather than travel to Sydney for Saturday’s Listed Winter Challenge.