Eight Carat Classic winner Contessa Vanessa will line up at Matamata tomorrow before tackling the Sunline Vase and New Zealand Oaks.
Contessa Vanessa is the only horse with a mathematical chance of catching Dijon Bleu in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, and co-trainer Graeme Rogerson is keen to give her every opportunity to do it.
Dijon Bleu has racked up an imposing tally of 30 points, winning three legs of the series and placing in another two. The daughter of Burgundy was the hot favourite to end her exceptional campaign on a high in next month’s Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks, but a slight leg injury has ended her season.
Contessa Vanessa sits in second place on the table with 13.5 points, having won the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic and placed in the Gr. 2 Royal Stakes and Gr. 3 Eulogy Stakes.
Team Rogerson will run the Bullbars filly in next week’s Gr. 3 Sunline Vase at Ellerslie, which carries six points for the winner, and in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks which is worth 12 points. If she can win both races, Contessa Vanessa will finish with 31.5.
A last-start 13th after a wide run in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic, Contessa Vanessa will line up in tomorrow’s Proisir 1400 at Matamata.
“She’s very well and we’re getting her ready for the Sunline Vase,” Rogerson said. “She had a week off after the Karaka Million meeting. This race will be a nice hitout for her, and I think she’ll run very well. Then she can back up in the Sunline Vase and carry on into the Oaks.”
Contessa Vanessa will be ridden by Jason Waddell and is rated a $5.20 chance in tomorrow’s race, with Levin Classic winner Age Of Fire the $1.75 favourite. Contessa Vanessa is rated a $14 chance for the Oaks at Trentham on March 17.
Another Team Rogerson runner who hasn’t been seen since the Karaka Million meeting is the speedy filly Gift Of Power, who finished third behind Melody Belle and Astor in the Gr. 3 Mongolian Khan Trophy.
“She just didn’t handle it right-handed at Ellerslie, she got on the wrong leg,” Rogerson said. “She’s been out to Cambridge Stud for a little break, and we’re aiming to resume at Manawatu on March 31 before taking her to Australia.”