A number of candidates for Saturday’s Manco Easter Stakes were the centre of attention as they prepared for the final Group One race of the domestic season at Matamata this morning.
Galloping 20 metres out on a slow course proper, Queens Rose (Tynan) travelled strongly to the finish of her 1200m assignment in 1:22.9, with the last 1000m in 1:08.3 and 600 in 39. The Graham Richardson-trained mare, who will be ridden in the Ellerslie feature by Danielle Johnson, has made pleasing progress since her fresh-up fourth earlier this month.
Rasa Lila (Ritchie) also looked the part when she and Devil’s Harmony (S Collett) cut out the last 1000m of their work in 1:07.4 and 600m in 40. Rasa Lila wasn’t far away in the Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha and has a good record on the Ellerslie track.
Sound Proposition was ridden by raceday jockey Michael Coleman in solo work over 1000m in 1:06.8 and 39.3. Watch This Space (Cole) was in good form for the Easter as he and Labels (Danis) got through smart work on the all-weather track, cutting out 1200m in 1:14.2, 1:01.2 and 37.
The centre’s two other Easter Stakes candidates, Snapshot and Abidewithme, looked bright while getting through pacework ahead of their final gallops on Wednesday morning.
Zambezi Warrior (Cameron) caught the eye as he prepared for Saturday’s Championship Stakes, striding through the last 1200m of his work in 1:20.2, 1:06.4 and 39.5. The Pentire gelding has trained on well since his last-start Pukekohe win and will strip fit for Saturday’s three-year-old feature.
Another last-start winner, Aotearower (Coleman), also looked well as she covered an unextended 1200m in 1:25, 1:09.8 and 41.5. Apache Fireworks (M Brosnan) did similar work in 1:23.8, 1:08.8 and 41, while Dubai Shuffle (Gorman) had more pace on when returning 1:21.5, 1:07.2 and 39.6.
Ellerslie entry Makarios (C Grylls) finished his work strongly over 1000m in 1:06 and 38.3, while Sarabande (J Collett) and Sunset Girl (Roff) were paired over 1200m in 1:23.5, 1:07.3 and 40.2.
On the sand, Evoke (Lammas) and El Corredor (Gibbs-Manson) shaped up well over 1000m in 1:05.2 and 600m in 38.2. El Corredor is a likely improver for the maiden 1600 at Ellerslie on Saturday, while his stablemate will run at Te Rapa next week.
Underthemoonlight (K McQuade) was strong at the end of her 1000m hitout in 1:09.1 and 38, while Spritz (Coleman) ran the same trip in a respectable 1:06.4 and 38.2. I See Fire (M Grylls) strode over 1200m in 1:21.8, 1:08 and 39.2, Letmeby (Gorman) took 1:23.8, 1:7.8 and 40, Rocksun (Cameron) and Cathedral Cove (Richards) 1:24.4, 1:09.7 and 40, and Contessa Belle (Rastrick) was restricted to 1:26.2, 1:11.6 and 42.
Over 1000m Arabian Duke (H McQuade) returned 1:11.5 and 41.3, and Interstellar (C Grylls) 1:12.3 and 41.9, while Kusan (Leveque) and Lady Jasmine (Fawcett) were timed over 800m in 57.6 and 41.8, and Esprit de Corps (K Hillis) 51.8 and 39.7.
On the all-weather track, Amarula (C Grylls) and Barcelo (Davidson) got though tidy work over 1000m in 1:05.8 and 38.8.