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Group 1 targets for smart filly

Oceanex (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) has Group 1 Sydney autumn goals on her programme after another impressive performance at Flemington.

The filly finished powerfully down the outside to win Saturday’s Event Staff Handicap in her first test over 2000 metres.

Trainer Mick Price admitted he had some reservations, but with three consecutive wins now to Oceanex’s name he plans to give her a short break before targeting the G1 Vinery Stud S. and the G1 Australian Oaks.

“I thought that was a massive performance,” Price said. “It's her first preparation and she was up in class, weight, distance and she had drawn a gate where she was going to have to give them a start.

“She produced a sustained run and I thought it was fantastic.

“I had my little query, but she still defied all that and came through with flying colours.

“It just gives me a bit of confidence to go and chase some of the better fillies in Sydney.

“I'll have to construct a little plan, timing-wise, to get her up there but I thought this was a massive tick for that filly.”

Price paid NZ$70,000 for Oceanex at Karaka where she was offered by Milan Park.

She is a half-sister to the G3 Rough Habit Plate winner Amexed (NZ) (Pentire {GB}) and their dam Danex (NZ) (Danasinga) won once and placed in the G2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic.

The G1 Railway S. winner Ryan Mark (NZ) (Thorn Park) also features on the pedigree page.

Another golden result for Latta

Lisa Latta went back to back in the G2 Desert Gold S., producing Secret Allure (NZ) (Zacinto {GB}) to triumph in the Trentham feature.

She was successful last year with Dijon Bleu (NZ) (Burgundy {NZ}), who subsequently claimed the prestigious New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year crown.

Asked to quicken by rider Leith Innes approaching the home turn, Secret Allure was still spotting the leaders some distance before lengthening stride impressively.

“Leith came out and said he had watched a few of her replays and she reminded him a bit of Dijon Bleu,” Latta said.

“She hasn’t quite got the height of her, but she is a tough little filly.

“I said to Leith that she could pull and I didn’t care where he was, just get her one off the fence and just give her a cosy run.

“He said I might look for a run up the inside, so I said just do whatever you want and everything just opened up for her.”

A half-brother to Secret Allure by Shooting To Win will be offered as Lot 391 from the Inglewood Stud draft during Book 1 at Karaka next week.

Newman turns Gorbachev around

Former problem child Gorbachev (NZ) (Gorky Park) was on his best behaviour at Trentham where he produced a dour staying performance to win the G3 NZ Campus of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup.

He is trained at Bulls by former New Zealand equestrian representative Bryce Newman, who has used all his conditioning skills to get the best out of the 5-year-old.

“I train him on the farm, he was the village idiot and wouldn’t gallop on the track,” Newman said.

“There was no malice in him, it’s taken time to sort him out and that’s all water under the bridge now.”

Ridden by Ryan Elliot, Gorbachev was involved in a stern home straight tussle with Dee And Gee (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) and got the better of the mare in the closing 50 metres for the fourth win of his career.

“This is definitely the highlight of my career,” Newman said. “I only train two or three and mostly pre-train for others.”

Mare continues rich run of form

Tropezina (Epaulette) continued the outstanding start she has made to her summer preparation with further success at Flemington.

She made all the running and fought on determinedly to claim the $250,000 Inglis Dash and remain unbeaten in three appearances this time in.

“I was just worried about her stepping up that extra 100 metres to 1100, but she was able to contain her speed early and went through the first couple of furlongs nicely with her head down in a nice rhythm,” winning rider Ben Melham said.

“That certainly enabled her to finish well. She doesn't want much further, but she was able to get the job done in a good prize money race.”

The Henry Dwyer-trained Tropezina will have to stretch her brilliance out further at her next start in the G3 Kevin Hayes S. at Caulfield in three weeks.

A $65,000 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale buy, Tropezina is a daughter of Boredom (Ad Valorem {USA}) who is a half-sister to the G1 Spring Champion S. winner Complacent (Authorized {IRE}) and the Listed Dulcify S. winner Ataraxia (Teofilo {IRE}).

The dam is a sister to the triple Group 1 winner and former champion 2-year-old Dracula (Quest For Fame {GB}).

Million reasons to back up

Well-related colt Cavallo Veloce (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) could be a chance to back up at Ellerslie next weekend in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

He came from off the pace to easily win the Sweynesse At Karaka Premier at Trentham on Saturday and the big prize in seven days’ time is now firmly on trainer and part-owner Peter McKay’s mind.

“We won here with Alamosa and backed him up a week later to win again so it can be done,” he said.

“We’ll see how he does. We’ve had a lot of problems with this horse with boils and other things, it’s been a nightmare but he showed his class.

“We wanted to ride him off the pace and he finished well. He’s a pretty good horse.

He was purchased out of Lime Country Thoroughbreds’ draft at Karaka for NZ$150,000 and is out of Giant Mystique (Giant’s Causeway {IRE}).

Cavallo Veloce is a three-quarter brother to the multiple Singapore stakes winner War Affair (NZ) and a half-brother to the G2 Chairman’s H. and G1 Sydney Cup placegetter (Sir) Charles Road (Myboycharlie {IRE}).

The Oaks Stud will offer a Pentire (GB) filly (Lot 57) out of Giant Mystique during the Book 1 session at Karaka on January 27.

Stewart pays dearly

Jockey Brad Stewart has copped a hefty fine for weighing in light.

Stewart was relieved of $3000 following the offence at Ipswich on Friday where he rode runner-up Heat Shield (Northern Meteor), who was disqualified.

Stewards held up correct weight before declaring Heat Shield a non-runner.

In handing down their penalty, stewards said they took into account the loss of prize money to the owners and the loss of monies invested on the horse.

Cup target for import

An upset win at Flemington by Khezerabad (FR) (Dalakhani {IRE}) has trainer Aron Purcell plotting paths to feature distance events.

The 7-year-old sat outside the leader and stayed on strongly to win Saturday's Voting Opens Monday for All-Star Mile.

“He's a horse with good stamina but he probably lacks a bit of sprint,” Purcell said.

Purcell said the G2 Adelaide Cup in March was the first major target for Khezerabad this campaign while the Galleywood Hurdle on his home track at Warrnambool in early May is also in the plans.

“He would probably have one hurdle trial and one hurdle run into the Galleywood.

“He doesn't really handle wet ground so I'm not sure how deep he will get into the jumps season.”

Purcell said he had long considered Khezerabad an Adelaide Cup prospect.

“He was going to head there last year, but he had a minor injury,” he said. "We decided to look after him and this preparation has all been geared around the Adelaide Cup.

“We'll work back from there and hopefully we can get there in one piece.”