There are no black marks against the name of exciting two-year-old prospect Bavella as she takes on stakes company for the first time in Saturday's Listed Splice Construction Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe.
Karaka trainer Lance Noble has revealed long-term targets of the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie and the Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni, both in March, for the impressive Ellerslie debut winner but would first love to tick off a spring feature win.
"Already we are thinking of the autumn and the Group One races for her but we've got to prove we are good enough," he said.
"But she hasn't done anything wrong and we're happy to give her the chance."
Bred and raced by Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Snitzel filly Bavella had two trials before racing for a win and a second placing before sitting outside the leader on debut at Ellerslie last month and going to the line eased down 1 1/4-lengths clear of Saturday's rival She's A Lady.
"It was a pretty good first start. She was very professional. She did it nicely and had a lot more left. It was a good strong win because she showed early speed and then was able to quicken in running. She's trained on well since," Noble said.
"We've tried to space her races but there's not a lot around for two-year-olds anyway. After she won, this was the obvious race to target leading into Christmas racing."
Bavella is out of a mare the Lindsays have been breeding from for four generations, her dam Zonza winning the Gr.3 Ladies Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield and finishing fourth in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings, the Zabeel mare never starting at a distance shorter than 1400m.
"Anything out of a Zabeel mare is pretty versatile. Coupled up with Snitzel, you get that speed and hopefully with Zabeel, you've got the stamina too," Noble said.
"Our unknown is just how she will handle a wet track but we'll take our chances. It's better to find out in a stakes race that she can't handle a wet track, than to avoid it and find out in a lower grade race later on that a wet track is no problem."
TAB bookmakers installed Bavella a $1.80 favourite for the Splice Construction Stakes ahead of She's A Lady at $4 and last-start Te Rapa winner Maybeashowoff at $5.20.
Noble, the private trainer for the Lindsays, will also produce Save The Date in the Gr.2 Dunstan Feeds Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1400m) and Prince Jabeel and Sistabeel on the undercard at Pukekohe.
Save The Date and Sistabeel have both been served by Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock, but Sistabeel isn't in foal.
Noble was optimistic Save The Date would prove competitive in the fillies and mares weight-for-age feature.
"Her run in the Hawera weight-for-age mares race (Taranaki Breeders' Stakes) was good. She ran fifth and wasn't far away. She's improved since with a first and second at Ellerslie and the rain won't disadvantage her as much as some of the others," Noble said.
"She's as well as she can be and this presents as a good opportunity to grab some black-type. If she ran third, that would be a great result for her."
Save The Date is a $19 chance in the TAB market, which is headed by Group One winner Volpe Veloce at $3.30 and Sleeping Beauty at $4.50. - NZ Racing Desk