Wessex promises another strong stakes performance

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  • June 23, 2023
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Quality filly Wessex will again take on older opposition on Saturday in a bid to add to her black-type record and she is in prime order for youth to again triumph over experience.

The free-going three-year-old is at the top of her game and promises to give her rivals another serious run for their money in the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m).

The Andrew Forsman-trained Wessex has been given the nod as the team’s best chance of success in the feature event, although stablemate Oneroa’s prospects are also to be taken seriously.

“She is the proven performer, but Oneroa is a genuine mare and deserves her chance,” Forsman’s assistant trainer Robert Dennis said.

Bred by Windsor Park Stud who remains in the ownership group, Wessex returned from a break to post a commanding frontrunning victory in last month’s Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) and has since been kept up to the mark with a trial outing at Te Rapa.

“We’re following a similar lead-in to her last start with a trial beforehand, so hopefully it’s a successful formula again,” Dennis said.

Wessex was well-rated at the head of affairs in her most recent victory by Kozzi Asano and he will again take the reins aboard the daughter of Turn Me Loose.

“It was a very good win at Rotorua, she was quite dominant and didn’t give anything else a look in,” Dennis said.

“On paper, it looks a similar strength sort of field and at weight-for-age she gets a bit of weight relief from the older mares so she’s going to get her chance again.”

Wessex holds a nomination for the Gr.3 Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 5, although the southern venture has yet to be locked in.

“Nothing has been decided at this stage, but that’s obviously an option and we’ll get Saturday out of the way first,” Dennis said.

Barnmate Oneroa has placed in all three of her runs since returning from a break and the Shooting To Win mare hasn’t missed a beat since her most recent third at Avondale.

“She’s been very consistent in the Rating 75 grade this preparation. She handles wet going and is very fit so she gets her chance at black-type and hopefully a top four chance,” Dennis said.

The stable’s other runner at Tauranga is Turn The Ace, who will be second-up for his campaign in the Mills Reef Winery Handicap (1400m).

Another son of Turn Me Loose, he posted his fourth career success in last season’s Winter Championship Series Final at Ruakaka before a deserved spell.

The four-year-old resumed at Pukekohe Park last month, but a combination of the going and his fresh condition saw him weaken out to only beat one runner home.

“It was quite holding that day and it didn’t really suit him so hopefully it’s a bit looser at Tauranga, that will be more of his go,” Dennis said.

“He has certainly improved with the race, he’s come on fitness-wise.”

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