Fillies’ Classic step-up awaiting Sudbina

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  • February 08, 2024
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By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Kingsclere Stables couldn’t have won last year’s Gr.2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) more convincingly with Prowess, and have a chance to go back-to-back on Saturday with Sudbina.

The recently retired Prowess won the 2000m feature by five lengths, an effortless performance that may be tough to emulate for her younger former stablemate, although a last start victory at Trentham in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) suggested Sudbina is swiftly improving.

The daughter of Almanzor will line-up in a star-studded Group Two event under regular hoop Kozzi Asano, benefitting from the ace draw, alongside a left-handed track, having never finished outside of the top two in four attempts that way of going.

Robert Wellwood, who trains the filly in partnership with Roger James, was pleased with her step-up to the mile at Trentham, but is mindful of the middle-distance task ahead.

“We didn’t know what to expect stepping up to the mile last time, but she ticked that box very well and was strong through the line,” he said.

“The big question is obviously stepping up to 2000m on Saturday. We’re pretty much just sitting and waiting to see really.”

Sudbina currently lies a $4.80 TAB Fixed Odds second-favourite for the Fillies Classic, splitting classy duo Molly Bloom ($3.60) and Mary Shan ($6.00).

The Cambridge trainers are hopeful Mark Twain can continue his campaign towards the Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) with a strong showing in the Peter Kelly – Bayleys Real Estate 2100.

“He lets himself down with his manners from the barrier, he can get back in the field and makes it very hard for himself. His runs have been good, but had he been further up in the running, he probably would’ve gone close to winning,” Wellwood said.

“Hopefully he can put a few behind him, and if he can do that, he should go a bold race.

“The Cup is certainly the goal, but he would have to go close to winning on Saturday to progress on to an Avondale Cup (Gr.2, 2400m) next week (17th February), and then the Auckland Cup.”

A wide-open TAB Futures market currently rates Mark Twain a $10 chance for the Auckland Cup, a shared second-line of betting while Sharp ‘N’ Smart heads the field at $7.

Meanwhile, Wellwood is hopeful Vadamos gelding Hasstobeawinner can live up to his name in a hotly-contested inaugural running of the $350,000 Sir Patrick Hogan Karapiro Classic (1600m), which features between the two Group Ones on Legends Day.

Hasstobeawinner has shown vast improvement as a four-year-old, finishing in the first three in all four starts this season, including posting an impressive maiden win at Tauranga in December. The MAAT conditions allow several classy gallopers to feature, and while respectful of the opposition, Wellwood is confident his charge will appreciate the step-up to a mile.

“He’s been going well, his last start really screamed out that he wants to go a mile, so it will be good to see that,” Wellwood said.

“He’s drawn reasonably well midfield, he should be able to sit in the first half-dozen. Obviously, there’s some pretty talented horses in there so it’s not going to be an easy feat to win the race, but he deserves his spot and we’re very happy with him.”

Wellwood confirmed star filly Orchestral will appear next Saturday in the Gr.2 Eagle Technology Avondale Guineas (2100m), three weeks post earning Kingsclere their second $1.5 million TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) in successive years.

“She’s very well, she came through her last race well and we’re looking forward to seeing her over further. We certainly think it will suit,” he said.

“She’ll head to the Avondale Guineas next Saturday, and then we’ll make a decision whether she heads to the Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) or the Bonecrusher (Gr.1, 2000m). At this stage, we’re probably thinking the Derby.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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