NZ Briefs for 05th March 2018

Browne to partner Pike’s cup hope; Group goals beckon smart mare;South Island Sale catalogue online; Filly confirms Oaks bid
Browne to partner Pike’s cup hope
Damian Browne will return home to chase another Ellerslie feature this Saturday.
The expatriate Kiwi jockey has answered the call from Cambridge trainer Tony Pike to ride Magic Chai in the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m).
“It was getting a bit tricky for a rider here and I’ve known Damian for some time,” Pike said. “He rode Sacred Elixir for me when he had his first start in Queensland.
“He’s very keen to come over and he knows Ellerslie pretty well, he’s won a Karaka Million (on Hardline in 2015) there.”
Magic Chai returned a sound trial on Saturday when he finished strongly from the tail of the field in a slowly run race to run fourth behind cup favourite Ladies First.
Group goals beckon smart mare
Top prospect Darscape Princess might be going all the way this preparation.
The in-form four-year-old will make her next appearance in the Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday week.
“She just keeps getting better and the scary thing is she’s still learning,” trainer Fraser Auret said.
If she performs up to expectations in the Cuddle, Darscape Princess can earn a crack at the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 7.
South Island Sale catalogue online
The 121-lot catalogue for the South Island session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales Series is now available online and will be in the post late next week.
The Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch will host the sale on Friday, April 20 with selling to start at 11am.
All yearlings entered are eligible to be nominated for the lucrative Karaka Million series, which comprises of two $1 million races – the Karaka Million 2YO and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic – in addition to the $100,000 CollinsonForex Karaka Cup.
The yearling section will be followed by the unraced stock section offering the final lot of the Sale.
Filly confirms Oaks bid
Cead Mile Failte is heading to Trentham in winning form for a Group One challenge.
The Tavistock filly placed at her first two starts before she broke her maiden over 1 m at Awapuni last time out and trainers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard are now focussed on Wellington.
“She’ll take her place in the New Zealand Oaks, she’ll run the 2400m,” Benner said. “She’s only going to get better and better.”

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