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Stakes targets beckon regally-bred filly

Aquaoir winning at Matamata last month. Photo: Race Images
Aquaoir winning at Matamata last month. Photo: Race Images

Regally-bred filly Aquaoir will head to Ellerslie on Saturday in preparation for a tilt at the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m) next month.

Bred by Trelawney Thoroughbreds, Aquaoir was purchased out of the farm's 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 draft for $100,000.

The Cody Cole-trained three-year-old is a half-sister to Group One winners Loire and A Touch Of Ruby, and her connections are keen for the daughter of Ocean Park to add further black-type to her pedigree page.

She placed in her two initial starts before recording her maiden win at Matamata last month over a mile.

She drops back in distance to 1500m in the Ecochill 1500 on Saturday after Cole had to rejig his plans with her after she tied-up last month.

“It is a big step-up tomorrow (Saturday),” Cole said. “1500m is probably not really ideal for her, she just had a wee setback and that kind of changed our plans a bit.

“She just tied up a couple of times. She had never done it before and I am not quite sure what that was about. It was just a little niggle, it was nothing major, she has not done it since.

“But we missed a gallop. We were supposed to go to Matamata, which didn’t happen anyway, so nothing was really lost there.”

Cole had eyed the Sunline Vase as a major target for his filly this autumn and he said Saturday’s run is just a steppingstone to getting there.

“We had to formulate a new plan to get her to a stakes race, and that is obviously very valuable for her as a broodmare,” he said.

“It’s just a steppingstone tomorrow. I couldn’t see her being very competitive, but I would like to see her running on and finish in the first five.

“She will probably press onto the Sunline Vase if she comes through it well.”

While Cole believes Aquaoir will get better with time, he would still like to gain some black-type with her to add to her burgeoning pedigree.

“She has got two half-sisters who are Group One winners – Loire and A Touch Of Ruby,” he said. “She is quite valuable as a broodmare.

“She is going to be better as a four-year-old, but I want to give her a crack (at black-type) while the tracks are good, and there are not that many staying races left.

“Typically those last few over ground for three-year-olds can be on off tracks and that wouldn’t suit her, so we will push on for this (Sunline Vase) and see what happens.

“Her work has been very good. She worked really well on Wednesday morning. I am pretty happy with the way she is going, she has just got to make that step up.” -NZ Racing Desk