Fix’s run keeps on keeping on
In Saturday’s Waikato Draught Sprint Xanadu had to bow again to South Island mare Final Touch as she completed a treble of Group One wins.
The Kelsos’ Group One bridesmaid, on the other hand, has come up with three second placings at the elite level. The sequence began in the Makfi Challenge Stakes in September when she had to bow to Ocean Park and continued with her second to Final Touch in last month’s Telegraph Handicap.
But for slightly tardy starts on occasions, Xanadu’s record might already contain that sought after big one. Again on Saturday she was marginally slow out of the gates, a situation that was exacerbated when she made contact with the hindquarters of the horse directly outside her, and by the time the field had sorted itself out she had just two runners behind her.
That left her with a massive task, especially combined with the need to scout wide into clear space from the 600-metre mark, but it was yet another very good effort from Xanadu and good enough to confirm plans for a Sydney autumn carnival campaign.
Plans around the current star of the Kelso team, Fix, remained up in the air as this page went press, with connections finding themselves in the somewhat luxurious position of having to decide which of the autumn classics to aim her at.
Fix extended her lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series with another consummate display in Saturday’s $100,000 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic.
That completed a hattrick of series races on top of her Eight Carat Classic and Royal Stakes wins at Ellerslie during ChristmasNew Year and on top of her earlier placing in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas took her points tally to 27.5, with the next best on the table Saturday’s runner-up Soriano with 19 points.
The connections of that filly have already announced their intentions to start in the New Zealand Derby on March 2 in preference to chasing further filly series points the same day in the Lowland Stakes at Hastings. That being the case and with the prestigious series seemingly in safe keeping with Fix, her connections are now considering the Derby as an alternative.
The $750,000 stake and the kudos that goes with the country’s premier classic are two factors worth considering, while the other is Fix’s perfect three-from-three record on the Ellerslie track. The easiest part of the decision is the $22,500 late entry fee required by next Tuesday, but a meeting this week with owner Gary Harding would go some way to deciding which direction the Kelsos will take with the valuable filly.
In the meantime, an important mission awaits the Kelso-Harding combination on home turf, with their unbeaten twoyear-old Bounding primed to complete a hat-trick in the J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes on Saturday week.
With two wins from as many starts and a defeat of subsequent Karaka Million winner Ruud Awakening in the second of them, Bounding has long been the early favourite for Matamata’s flagship race.
The jury is still out in some quarters whether Bounding would still have beaten Ruud Awakening at Pukekohe in November if the latter had not blown the start.
But there’s also a strong body of opinion that has Bounding at the top of twoyear-old rankings.
Next week’s $100,000 feature should give a further line on the filly.
Handler: Gillian Cook leads Fix and Vinnie Colgan back to scale after they had completed a feature race hat-trick in the Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic at Te Rapa on Saturday.