Wingatui trainer Claire Anderton will be hoping to answer a few questions with her regally-bred mare The Precious One at Ascot Park on Saturday.
The Darci Brahma four-year-old, who is out of dual Group One winner The Jewel, will line-up in the Tim Yeo Contracting Handicap (1600m) and her connections want to see if she can handle the step-up to a mile.
The Precious One’s only unplaced run in her seven career starts came at that distance, but Anderton believes her boisterous mare cost herself the race when over-racing in the lead.
“I am very pleased with how she has been going, even when she was unplaced she wasn’t even two lengths from the winner that day,” Anderton said.
“She had gone to the front and pulled too hard, so even that was a good run.
“When Chris (Johnson, jockey) rode her (that day) he was a bit dubious as to whether she could see out the mile, but I believe it was just because she was out in-front and went hard.”
The Precious One will be ridden by Corey Campbell on Saturday and Anderton believes the pairing will be a winning chance from barrier six.
“She can pretty much race anywhere in the field as long as she has got some cover, so he has got a couple of options from barrier six, I am quite happy with that draw,” Anderton said.
The Precious One added black-type to her stellar pedigree page last-start when she was runner-up to Kiwi Ida in the Gr.3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton last month.
Anderton was pleased with her effort in that race and said she has kept her up to the mark ahead of Saturday’s contest.
“It was a good run, it had been quite a while between runs, so she was slightly on the fresh side, which her behaviour showed behind the gates.
“We have kept it up to her, she has got to go a mile, we just didn’t want her quite as fresh as she was before Christchurch.
“I am very happy with her, there’s not a lot more that we can do at this end, so we have just got to hope for a bit of luck on the day.”
All going to plan, The Precious One could travel to the North Island in the coming months on the search for more black-type.
“We’ll just make sure she sees the mile out, there are a couple of different options for her going forward. She is always going to be better after Christmas, but those mares generally are.
“There are some options down here around Christmas and New Year. All going well, she shows us that she is good enough to go up to the North Island, which I think she is.
“I am very lucky to have her in the stable, she’s a privilege to train.” – NZ Racing Desk