Matamata trainer Graham Richardson, who trains in partnership with Gavin Parker, is confident his Group One winning mare Volpe Veloce can bounce back to form in the Gr.2 Windsor Park Stud Japan NZ International Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga on Saturday.
The five-year-old mare finished eighth behind Melody Belle in the Gr. 1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) on an off track at Otaki at her most recent start in late February.
“She is very well,” Richardson said. “At her last run she was a bit disappointing and it left me questioning myself about how she went.
“The track at Otaki wasn’t right but in saying that it wasn’t right for all of them. She just looked uncomfortable the whole way.
“She never looked happy at any stage in that race. I put her out for a week in the paddock when she got home and then brought her up and hopefully, she will run well on Saturday.”
Should Volpe Veloce perform to expectations on Saturday, Richardson is keen to push on to the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 6.
“All going well it will be on to Te Aroha. It looks an ideal race for her,” Richardson said.
Volpe Veloce opened as the $3 favourite with the TAB for Saturday’s contest and the Richardson-Parker stable also has the $9 fourth favourite Tiptronic as a likely starter and is expected to continue his strong form.
“It is a question of if we go around this week or the following week at Palmerston North in the Awapuni Gold Cup (Gr.2, 2000m) with Tiptronic,” Richardson said.
“It comes down to the weather. He wants a good track and if it rains next week after scratching this week, it would be disappointing.
“He could be an Easter Handicap (Gr.2, 1600m) horse. I do believe he is a better horse right-handed and he likes Tauranga and he likes Ellerslie, so that is another thing I have to think about.”
Richardson has three solid chances on the undercard with La Mia Stella, Short Fuse and
Incantesimo representing the stable.
“La Mia Stella is a pretty handy horse and once again has got a very ordinary draw (9) but she does go very well. It is a strong field,” Richardson said.
Meanwhile, Richardson said Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) winner Sponge Bob was just ticking over after being hampered in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) in which he finished 15th.
“He is going very quietly at the moment, it was a hard run in the Derby when he got dragged back through the field and got a few checks and it was obviously disappointing that he didn’t get a fair crack at them,” Richardson said. – NZ Racing Desk