The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Rondinella is taking a solid formline into Saturday’s Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie, but her connections believe she will have her work cut out for her in the star-studded field.
The Ocean Park four-year-old has won three of her six starts this season, placing in a further two, including a last-start runner-up performance in the Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata last month.
“I thought it was a good run, she certainly didn’t get every favour, but she was very close on what wasn’t a suitable track for her,” Wellwood said.
There are a number of horses the Cambridge trainers didn’t foresee competing in Saturday’s contest, but they remain excited to have her competing in her first Group One assignment in any case.
“She is taking a good formline in, but the race has come up very strong,” Wellwood said. “I think there are eight Group One winners and a further two Group One placegetters.
“There are probably two or three that we didn’t think were going to be there when we decided that was a race on our radar.
“But we are happy with her and we are going to get a good line on her from how she does perform on the weekend.”
Rondinella has drawn gate three and Wellwood said jockey Vinnie Colgan will likely settle her midfield from that barrier.
“She’s drawn three, that’s a nice barrier to find her feet and settle somewhere midfield and hopefully she can find the line as strong as anything else,” he said.
“It’s a very strong field, but we are happy with her and very excited to have her there.”
The Cambridge trainers will wait until after Saturday’s race before deciding on further autumn targets with Rondinella, however, Wellwood said a trip across the Tasman is a possibility for the mare.
“We’ll run Saturday and make plans from the result and how she goes there,” he said.
“She may head to Sydney for a race. There are a few different options around.” – NZ Racing Desk