Spellbound will be a short-priced favourite for the time-honoured G3 Downbytheseaside Leonard Memorial Stakes for juvenile fillies at Addington on Sunday.
But debutante Arden’s Sweetheart has made a good impression in her trials and is nicely placed to pounce if things happen to go her way.
“She’s a late foal and still a bit immature but she has a good turn of speed and barrier two is a good one to work with,” said trainer Cran Dalgety.
“She lacks a bit of ringcraft but I guess you could say that about all of them.”
Arden’s Sweetheart has chased Amazing Dream home in her last two trials, the latest at Rangiora a few weeks ago when she led up and was beaten three-quarters of a length in a 2.02 mile rate, home in 27.5
A week later Amazing Dream chased home the top-rated juvenile filly Sweet On Me in Auckland.
The latter is a Sweet Lou filly from Adore Me and Arden’s Sweetheart is another Sweet Lou and a half-sister to the top juvenile filly Arden’s Darlin.
The sire’s first crop has already produced a dozen juveniles to qualify or race with the gelding Virgil also being a winner.
Dalgety has also qualified the gelding Fabrizio, whom he co-owns after breeding him from the Christian Cullen mare Zagami.
“I’ve got five two-year-olds by Sweet Lou and I like them all.”
Dalgety went shopping for more of them at the yearling sales last month and was disappointed to take only one home.
He bought the colt from Revere Me in Auckland for $100,000 after earlier missing out of the top priced Sweet Lou yearling from Pacing Delight, which sold for $140,000.
“We had a good crack at that one and came out of it with a bloody nose, which is usually what happens when you get in the ring with Jean Feiss.”
Arden’s Sweetheart is raced on lease by the Life’s A Beach Syndicate, which has 10 shareholders spread between Nelson and Tapanui and many of them will be at Addington.
“The syndicate started out with a brother to Someardensomewhere, but he needed a throat operation which wasn’t successful and he is now a champion show horse in Canterbury,” said Tapanui breeder-owner John Stiven.
“So I leased the filly to them as a replacement.”
Arden’s Sweetheart is the last foal from Achieve A Dream, an In The Pockdet mare who has been getting progressively harder to breed from.
Her first two foals were Arden’s Darlin ($246,000) and Arden Major ($43,000), but she has produced only four foals in the 13 years since and one of those in a Rock N Roll Heaven filly was lost as a weanling.
“That filly got her halter hooked on a gate and she strangled herself and Achieve A Dream hasn’t had a lot of luck at all.
“I wasn’t having much joy getting her in foal with frozen semen and in the end I went to Sweet Lou because he was a young and fertile horse with fresh semen.
“I haven’t got Achieve A Dream in foal since either but at least Arden’s Darlin is going alright and now it looks like I’ve got another nice breeding prospect in Arden’s Sweetheart to go on with one day.”
Dalgety and junior driver Nathan Purdon, who has been working for him for four months, have several good chances at Addington with probably the best of them being the maiden Arden Roanoke, the first foal from Stiven’s top mare Rocknroll Arden.