Group One winning mare Consensus will have the first run of her seven-year-old season in the Chesters Plumbing & Bathroom (1300m) at Tauranga on Saturday.
The Stephen McKee-trained mare last raced in May when she ended a three start Australian campaign with an eighth placing in the Gr.2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on the Gold Coast, having also finished fourth in the Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and sixth in the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney.
“She came straight home and spelled at Kylie Bax’s place in Cambridge for about six weeks,” McKee said.
Consensus was one of 26 horses to have a trial at Te Aroha last Thursday before the meeting was abandoned due to an issue with the track.
“She’s carrying quite a bit of weight as an older mare so we just gave her a quiet trial but she actually went quite well. Her trial was a couple of seconds faster than the next heat and she had a good blow afterwards so she’s really going to improve with this week’s race,” McKee said.
The Tauranga track was rated a Slow7 on Thursday with rain forecast for the rest of the week which is not ideal for the daughter of Postponed whose best performances have been on better tracks.
“I’m not expecting a lot from her on Saturday, she’s got 60kgs and it’s going to be a wet track so she’s going to improve a hell of a lot with the run,” McKee said.
“She’ll be naturally competitive as she always is, especially when she’s fresh but if she can run in the first four or five I’ll be pretty happy with her going forward.
“She will then run again at Tauranga in a couple of weeks and then we’ll look at the Captain Cook which she finished second to Kawi in last year and then probably on to the Zabeel Classic again.”
The winner of the 2016 Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) and fourth in last year’s edition, Consensus is likely to race through until the Autumn before going to stud.
McKee also prepares Neeson in the Mills Reef Winery (1300m) on Saturday’s Great Kiwi Raceday at Tauranga.
“He’s been working well, he’s drawn 18 but he will probably come in a bit with the ballots and he’s a nice horse who I think will go through the grades,” McKee said.
Meanwhile, the Victorian campaign of their stablemate Hasabro has come to an end. The three-year-old colt was galloped on in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) last Wednesday.
“He pulled up sore so he will have a little break and we will look to the New Zealand Derby,” McKee said. – NZ Racing Desk