Cambridge trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood haven’t completely closed the door on quality mare Rondinella lining up in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 13
The daughter of Ocean Park finished third last Saturday to Avilius in the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) and her connections are assessing her options after that pleasing run.
“It is a consideration at this stage (the Sydney Cup) and we will make a final decision after the weekend,” James said.
“It was the intention that she come straight home, but the owners were keen to leave her there for a week to assess the situation and make a decision.”
Jockey Sam Clipperton had been rapt with the way she travelled in the race and finished it off nicely despite the unfavourable heavy10 track conditions.
“He got off and said we had been robbed by the weather,” James said. “He said she had travelled beautifully everywhere but when he went to let her down she wandered in the track and the second horse ran past her very easily and he thought he was going to leave her in his wake.
“Then when he balanced her up she got back at it, I think he had put three quarters of a length on us and we were only a head behind on the line. He did say she wasn’t happy on the ground, which we knew beforehand she wasn’t at her best in that ground.”
While Rondinella is untested at the extreme distance of the Sydney Cup, James was buoyed by her performance over 2400m in the Tancred.
“Two miles is a specialist race and you don’t know until you try really but she did answer the question on Saturday that she would get the mile and a half,” he said.
Meanwhile, James is hopeful Concert Hall can breakthrough for her first win at elite level in the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on Saturday.
The four-year-old daughter of Savabeel recorded her first black-type victory in the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham last month, her third win in a row.
“It was nice to see her do that, it is a big step up from that to Saturday but she has pleased me and we are pleased to have her here,” James said.
“You are never confident going in to Group Ones, you are more hopeful than confident. The wide draw is an issue, it is always good to have a good draw no matter the distance. If you have to have a wide run, Te Aroha is quite a forgiving track to have it on.
“I rated her last year but she was just getting there and it is just maturity that has seen the improvement in her.” – NZ Racing Desk