NEWS PREVIEW

Promising filly takes successful first step at Riccarton

The Highly Recommended three-year-old had been earmarked as one to watch after scoring at the Rangiora trials in late August although she had displayed some wayward tendencies during that outing. That greenness threatened to spoil the party on Saturday when the protest siren blew immediately after the Matt and Mandy Brown trained filly had downed Matamata visitor Age Of Fire in a driving finish to three-year-old 1000 metre contest.
A bumping duel between the pair in the closing stages was finally settled in Greenpark Gem’s favour, much to the relief of Mandy Brown who admitted she was a bundle of nerves throughout the inquiry proceedings.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking as we went through the protest with the Judicial Committee,” she said.
“I think in the end they conceded both horses contributed to incident and we managed to keep the race.
“I was just so thrilled for her owners, Robbie and Lindy Strawford, as it is the first horse they have raced with so to start with a win is just wonderful.”
Brown believes there is plenty more in store for the filly who holds a nomination for the 1 gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas in November, a race the Browns won with La Diosa in 2016.
“She has shown us plenty in her work to date so we threw a nomination in for the 1000 Guineas,” she said.
“She is on a pretty steep learning curve to get to a race like that and it may not pan out for her but the raw material is definitely there. She just needs racing to get her manners in shape as she is still very green.
“She came home and ate up well last night which is a good sign and at this stage she will be heading back to Riccarton for the Canterbury Belle Stakes in a fortnight.”
Brown is also excited about the prospect of La Diosa making her first appearance for the season at the Ashburton trials on Tuesday.
“La Diosa has had a slow build-up as we are very wary about overtaxing her early on after she had such a big three-year-old season,” she noted.
“She has been working along nicely and will step out at the trials on Tuesday which will give us a good lead on where she is at present.
“Provided she trials well she will also go to Riccarton on the 23rd for the open 1200 metre race as the first start for this campaign.”

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