NZ Briefs for 11th August 2017

Top filly aimed at Railway; Houlahan on Kiwi’s radar; Nichols spoiled for choice ;
Top filly aimed at Railway
Precocious youngster Melody Belle will take on the older horses at Group One level in her second appearance as a three-year-old.
Last season’s Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes, Karaka Million and Gr.2 BTC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner has the Gr.1 Sistema Railway Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day as her target.
“She’ll be on the treadmill for three weeks and will be back in the stable in the first week of September,” said Jamie Richards, who trains with Stephen Autridge.
“The Railway is her aim and it’s about finding a suitable lead-up race now the Concorde has been moved to Karaka Million night.”
Houlahan on Kiwi’s radar
New Zealand jumper Stormin Norman is making excellent progress ahead of a crack at an Australian jumping feature.
The 10-year-old son of Istidaad recently finished third at Sale in his first jumping start since he finished fifth in the 2014 Great Northern Hurdles at Ellerslie.
Then trained by part-owner John Wheeler, Stormin Norman is now in the Mornington stable of former top jumps jockey Brett Scott who is likely to run the gelding in the J.J. Houlahan Hurdle at Ballarat on August
Nichols spoiled for choice
Shane Nichols has options aplenty this spring with his New Zealand-bred I Am A Star, who resumes in the Gr.3 Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington.
“With 58 kilos and giving the older geldings weight, she’ll certainly have to be on song on Saturday,” Nichols said. “But I do expect her to run really well.”
Subsequent Group One options include the Underwood Stakes and Epsom Handicap on the same weekend, and the Toorak Handicap.
A defence of her Myer Classic title and even a Cox Plate tilt are among the later spring considerations for I Am A Star.

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