Distance puts Warning Signal in the Group Three mix

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  • October 17, 2023
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By Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Four weeks on from an eye-catching placing in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m), promising filly Warning Signal is set to relish the extra distance of Saturday’s Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton.

A well-bred daughter of U S Navy Flag and the stakes-performed Iffraaj mare La Veuve, Warning Signal made her raceday debut with a sixth over 1000m on September 2. She was thrown in at the deep end to run in the Canterbury Belle in only the second start of her career, and she defied $87 odds for a close third behind Viva Vienna and Illicit Dreams.

Those two fillies will be rivals again on Saturday. However, while the connections of favourite Viva Vienna concede that the step up to 1400m will be a question mark, Warning Signal’s trainers Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong are excited to see their filly stretch out over the longer trip.

“It was actually a super run in the Canterbury Belle,” Furlong said. “She found the line really well. It was definitely a performance that warranted a step up to Group Three this weekend at Ashburton. We’ve been really happy with everything that she’s done in between times, and we know that she’s going to absolutely love the step up in distance.”

Rated a $14 fourth favourite for the Barneswood Farm Stakes on Saturday, Warning Signal is nominated for the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 18 and is currently a $151 outsider.

Kennedy and Furlong’s 15-strong team at Ashburton on Saturday also includes Second Thought in the $50,000 McCrea Painters & Decorators Ashburton Cup (1600m).

The Ghibellines mare has won five of her 17 starts, and she kicked off her six-year-old season with a bold third behind The Buffer and Goodanya in the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile Trial (1400m) on September 30.

“She always goes well fresh, but we thought that was a particularly good effort first-up,” Furlong said. “She was up against quite a smart field and on a track (Heavy10) that was pretty undesirable for her. We were quite excited by that performance, and she’s definitely going to appreciate the step up to the mile on Saturday.”

The GD Jones Salute Stewards’ Trial (1200m) will be Petty’s Legacy’s first start since October 30 last year. However, the talented daughter of Sweynesse – a four-time winner and four-time placegetter from 17 starts to date – has had an early hiccup in this preparation.

“She’s coming up well, but this is not the race that we were originally planning to start her off in,” Furlong said. “She played up in the truck on the way to Timaru last week and ended up having to be late-scratched.

“So we’ve ended up having to go to this race just because there isn’t really anywhere else to go. It’s really only a starting point for this campaign, so we’re not necessarily expecting too much from her first-up.”

The promising Iffididit will step up to Rating 65 grade in the Clem & Russell Brand Memorial (1400m). The Iffraaj gelding ran second in all of his first three starts, then scored a smart maiden win at Timaru last Friday.

“He went really well that day and is putting together a pretty good formline,” Furlong said. “He’s always seemed like a horse who’s just needed a bit more maturity, and he seems to have that now as a four-year-old.

“We’re hoping a few of our runners will be thereabouts on Saturday. Miss Layla, Betty Spaghetti and Ugo are all second-up, and we’re hoping to see them hitting the line well. Madame Giselle is fresh up and seems to be going into it in good order.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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