Smart Hastings filly Xpression will be missing from Saturday’s Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham, but trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen have their Group One winner Wait A Sec on the verge of a return to racing.
Xpression has been on the easy list since finishing third behind More Wonder at Awapuni last month.
“She was disappointing last start,” Lowry said. “She seemed to be working up well before the race and she should have gone a lot better than she did. There had to be something wrong.
“We had her thoroughly checked over after the race and her bloods weren’t 100 percent.
“It’s not viral, but she’s just got a few niggling issues and we’ve backed off her.
“She’ll go out for a spell and we’ll monitor her. Before we do anything with her we’ll wait until she has a clean bill of health.”
Xpression won the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m) at Trentham as a two-year-old and was in fine form during the recent spring, adding two more wins to her tally, including the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton, and being runner-up to Avantage in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings.
The Showcasing filly then headed to Riccarton and ran a highly creditable third behind Media Sensation in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) before being freshened for her latest outing.
“We’re devastated she’ll miss the Levin Classic and it would be nice to think she could be at Te Aroha for the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes, but that’s unlikely now,” Lowry said.
While Xpression is taking it easy, Wait A Sec is ticking over on track for a jumpout.
Wait A Sec became the stable star when winning the 2017 Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings, but has been off the scene since winning the Wairoa Cup (2100m) eleven months ago.
“He had a tear in his tendon and has had a good long break,” Lowry said.
“We’ve been scanning him the whole way through and we’ve really been taking it day by day with him, but he seems to be coming up well.
“He’s not far off having a jumpout, but we’ve got no big plans for him.
“The main goal is to get him going again and set him up for a really good prep in the spring.”
The eight-year-old Postponed gelding has won 13 races and almost $400,000 in prizemoney with his last campaign also bringing a win in the Gr.3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham.
Trentham is the target for the next start for stablemate Real Beach, who completed a double when scoring convincingly over 2100m at Awapuni last Saturday.
The daughter of Nadeem had also won over the same course and distance last month and Lowry is keen to try her over even more of a staying test in a rating 82 2400m on January 26.
“She won well and I think there’s a bit more improvement in her,” Lowry said. - NZ Racing Desk