Viva Vienna the one to beat in Canterbury Belle Stakes

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is set to continue its successful southern spring campaign at Riccarton this Saturday, featuring several top contenders.

Trainers and Sam Bergerson will have and Rhetorical in the Listed Stakes (1200m).

In their recent outing at Christchurch, Viva Vienna finished first, while Rhetorical claimed third in a 1000m race.

Bergerson expressed satisfaction with their preparations, stating, “Viva Vienna's performance was really good. She loves the gritty fight. She has drawn one, which is ideal, she should get a lovely run from there.

“Rhetorical will need to have improved a little bit to beat Viva Vienna and the runner (), but we are really happy with her. She has a nice barrier (3) and Warren Kennedy aboard really helps as well.”

Viva Vienna is the favourite at -111.11 for the Canterbury Belle Stakes, with Illicit Dreams at +280, and Rhetorical priced at +650.

Additionally, The Mighty Spar and Prismatic will continue their journey toward the Group 3 Cup (3200m). Bergerson noted that both horses had promising recent performances and are well-suited to the upcoming 2000m race.

Challa, a recent winner, will aim to maintain his excellent form in the South Island. Bergerson highlighted Challa's adaptability and the of having apprentice Ngakau Hailey with a four-kilo claim.

Looking ahead, Te Akau Racing is set to participate in the race meeting on Sunday, with six runners, including Group One winner On The Bubbles. Bergerson anticipates a competitive field and is optimistic about On The Bubbles' performance, given his good form and recent recovery from a wind operation.

“We thought his first-up run was good (for third over 1200m). He has come through it well, we were pleased with the run. We will know a lot more after Sunday,” said Bergerson.

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