Spring features a springboard to future for Petagna fillies

Santa Catarina will tackle the Gr.1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.  - Race Images Northern
Santa Catarina will tackle the Gr.1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Race Images Northern

Australian spring features are the immediate target for star Cambridge fillies Santa Catarina and Peaceful, but that's only one part of the plan.

The Lib Petagna-raced Savabeel fillies are set to contest weekend features in Australia - the Stephen Marsh-trained Santa Catarina tackling the Gr.1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday and the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Peaceful slated for the Gr.2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on Sunday.

While Petagna's bloodstock manager Bruce Perry was keen to see both perform well, he said the bigger picture was the benefits both fillies would get from campaigning in Australia now for future preparations.

"It's a big ask going over there and our fillies are probably two months behind the Aussie fillies at this time of the year," Perry said.

Santa Catarina is following the same path in Sydney as the Petagna-raced former stablemate Sofia Rosa who was unplaced in both the Gr.2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Flight Stakes in 2015 before she returned for a 2016 summer and autumn campaign which netted Group Two and Group Three wins on her way to victory in the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.

"If she could run third or fourth on Saturday, it would be amazing," Perry said.

"It was a good run in the Tea Rose (for 10th) and we were very happy with her. She’s going to take a fair bit of improvement out of that run. Physically, she's well ahead of Sofia Rosa at the same stage. This filly is a lot stronger.

"We'd like to see her find two or three lengths on her last run which hopefully would see her somewhere there. We'll be struggling to beat Miss Fabulass but hopefully this can set her for later on.

"We think this trip will be the making of her and she is going really well. Hopefully we have a better horse from this going ahead."

While Sofia Rosa was turned out after the Flight Stakes, Perry said Santa Catarina could continue her spring back home in New Zealand with a possible tilt at the Gr.3 Partners Life Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on October 27 and the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 17.

Peaceful's main spring aim is the Gr.1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 13, though she was this week nominated for the Gr.1 Victorian Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 8.

"She's great. It's hard to get a line on the Melbourne fillies but Murray and Andrew rate her highly," Perry said.

"I'd like to think she can be thereabouts on Sunday. It's just whether she's forward enough to beat some fairly well-performed fillies. But I'd like to think she's capable of running first or second." - NZ Racing Desk


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