Haunui hoping to cap a Classic week

6 min read

Victory for Xpression (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}) in the G1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton would crown an excellent week for Haunui Farm.

The Karaka farm’s colours were carried to victory by Rondinella (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) and Sahar (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) at Te Rapa seven days ago and leading jockey Samantha Collett will wear them aboard the pre-post Classic favourite on Saturday.

Trained by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, Xpression won two of her three starts as a 2-year-old, including the G2 Wakefield Challenge S., and she opened her current preparation with a Taupo victory and a runner-up finish in the G3 Gold Trail S.

The filly claimed last month’s G3 Barneswood Farm S. and a trial in between times will have her at the top of her game for the Guineas. She has run 1400 metres out strongly enough to allay any concerns at the mile.

Proven at trip

Xpression’s stablemate Mohaka (NZ) (Nadeem) has yet to win a race, but she is stakes placed and has already placed over 1600 metres while there are questions marks over others.

Media Sensation (I Am Invincible) has only been beaten once in five starts and her connections are hopeful the step up in trip won’t faze her. Melt (Iffraaj {GB}) is in good touch with two wins and a placing from three runs this preparation, although flight delays to Christchurch weren’t helpful and they only arrived on Friday.

Media Sensation winning at Ellerslie

For value, the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Valalie (Snitzel), who was also on the delayed flight, is worthy of consideration and she has a pedigree to instill further confidence being out of a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Dundeel (NZ) (High Chaparral {IRE}).

Valalie’s stablemate Mental Telepathy (NZ) (Shocking) performed boldly on the first day of the carnival with a fine trial for the G3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup.

Bred to stay

His sire was a G1 Melbourne Cup winner and this 4-year-old showed his staying qualities when closing well late for third in the Listed Metropolitan H., behind Dee And Cee (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) and Felaar (NZ) (Ekraar {USA}).

Dee And Cee might struggle at the trip, but Felaar looks well-equipped to cope and was set for this race some time ago.

Black type is on offer to the 2-year-olds in the Listed Barneswood Farm Welcome S. which marks the debut of Touchabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), who is out of the multiple Group 1 winner Final Touch (NZ) (Kashani {USA}).

Miss Federer (NZ) (Swiss Ace) just touched off Challa (Dissident) when they last met and they are both expected to give bold accounts again.

Emperor to rule again

Staying in New Zealand, Ocean Emperor (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) will defend his title in the G2 Garshore Tauranga S. and he fronts up in top form having won his last start at Awapuni under 60.5kg. The return to weight-for-age racing obviously favours him.

Ocean Emperor

In Victoria, Ringerdinding (Sebring) was an impressive last-start winner of the Listed Springtime S., and he again looks as the horse to beat in the G2 Sandown Guineas.

He roared home from well back on the turn and the step up to 1600 metres can only be in the Darren Weir-trained contender’s favour.

Zoutori (Zoustar) has acquitted himself well in stakes company since breaking his maiden and should get an economical run from gate one while the Tony McEvoy-trained pair of Scottish Rogue (Rothesay) and Secret Blaze (Sizzling) were both good when placed at their latest appearances.

Top Zipping hope

The Taj Mahal (IRE) (Galileo {IRE}) was a solid fifth in the G1 Caulfield Cup and failed to back up when unplaced in the G2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup a week later. Freshened, he can be a major player in the G2 Quayclean Zipping Classic.

He has won over the 2400-metre trip and looks a strong chance for the Williams family.

Our Libretto (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) was a close seventh in the G2 Matriarch S. during the carnival and she had been in outstanding form prior to that. A true pace will help her chances.

Bring Me Roses (High Chaparral {IRE}) looks the horse to beat in the G3 MyPunter.com Eclipse S. following her last-start second in the G1 Empire Rose S. behind Shillelagh (NZ) (Savabeel). Black On Gold (Sebring) was at long odds when fourth in the Listed Furphy Plate and a similar effort would see him in the frame.

Sharp improver

Improvement can be expected from Illustrious Lad (I Am Invincible) when he steps out in the G3 Kevin Heffernan S. He had his first run back from his Dubai venture when out of the money in the Listed Absolut S., but will surely have benefited from that outing.

Fifty Stars (IRE) (Sea The Stars {IRE}) is a progressive type and he looks ideally placed to open his black type account in the G3 Araza Sandown S., while Our Crown Mistress (Star Witness) is racing well and is a leading hope in the G3 Le Pine Funerals Summoned S.

The 2-year-olds will do battle in the opening event, the Listed Thoroughbred Club Merson Cooper S. Salome (Unencumbered) was a sound third on debut and the filly is sure to be much improved for the experience.

At the opposite end of the distance scale is the Listed Labrokes Sandown Cup with Yogi (NZ) (Raise The Flag) appealing as a type that won’t be undone by the 3200-metre test.

Sweet Twilight chance

Sweet Rockette (Fastnet Rock) has made a grand start to her career and she can add the Listed MRC Members Twilight Glow S. to her record while Soothing (Lonhro) is in solid form and with a light weight can make her presence felt in the Listed Clanbrooke Racing Doveton S.

In Western Australia, Lady Cosmology (Universal Ruler) comfortably won the Listed Burgess Queen S. and will be hard to hold out in the G3 David Gray’s Ag-Link WA Champion Fillies’ S.

Dainty Tess (Danerich) is unbeaten this preparation and she should be awfully hard to handle in the G3 Homemasters-Colonel Reeves S. from a handy barrier while the extra distance of the G3 RJ Peters. gives Action (Pierro) the opportunity to get back to winning ways.