Nigel Auret’s hopes of breaking his Riccarton duck rest with La Fille En Jeu.
The successful Wanganui breeder, owner and trainer has been an infrequent visitor to the South Island’s premier course with four placings there from six runners.
La Fille En Jeu looks a strong chance to open Auret’s account when she steps out in the Gr. 3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes tomorrow.
She has won seven times from 23 appearances with a strong fourth when resuming in the Gr. 3 Spring Sprint at Hawke’s Bay confirming her passage south.
“I was very happy with her going into that race, her work had been excellent so she was very forward,” Auret said.
“I had it in the back of my mind that if she went well that Riccarton would be the plan. Whether she has improved is hard to tell, but she hasn’t gone backwards.”
Leah Hemi has successfully combined with La Fille En Jeu on six previous occasions and she will have the task of guiding the mare from the outside gate.
La Fille En Jeu was unplaced in the Gr. 3 Anniversary Handicap at Trentham earlier this year in her first start over a mile and she is likely to be given another opportunity later this preparation.
“The 1400 metres is probably her best distance at the moment, but I’m hoping by the end of the season to stretch her out to a mile,” Auret said. “She’s a lot more settled now.”