Viadana takes on Melbourne
Replication of her fantastic 2013-14 season is a tall order but lately-crowned Matamata Horse of the Year Viadana is all set to embark on that path.
By the time you read this Viadana will be in Melbourne, scheduled to start this Saturday in the Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington. All going to plan she will back at the same track on the opening day of Melbourne Cup week for her main target, the Gr 1 Myer Classic.
Last season Viadana took her stake-earnings past $700,000 with four wins from nine starts headed by the Group One double of the NRM Sprint and Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes.
Her only start across the Tasman was also her last appearance in that campaign, with her close and unlucky fifth in the Gr 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes at Randwick on Easter Saturday sufficient evidence that she could measure up to the best Australian race mares.
Viadana’s 7-year-old season began with an unplaced run in the Foxbridge Plate on August 15 and she was kept up to the mark with a trial outing at Avondale last week.
‘‘We originally had her in the Makfi Stakes at Hastings but I wasn’t keen on backing her up so quickly from the Foxbridge,’’ trainer Lance Noble said.
‘‘The trial fitted better with our plan to kick off her Melbourne campaign in the Let’s Elope and I was happy with her second placing.
‘‘It was only a trial and she wasn’t knocked around. She’s thriving like she never has before and she’s still got a bit up her sleeve fitness-wise, but she should be good for the 1400m on Noble had planned to send his other open class galloper Brave Centaur to Sydney but the continuing wet New South Wales weather meant a change of plans and he will now accompany Viadana to Melbourne and run in a Listed 1400m race on Saturday.
The Melbourne carnival may also now be on the cards for the Ken and Bev Kelso-trained Fix after she bounced back to form with an impressive win at Whanganui on Saturday.
After a stellar 3-year-old campaign when she claimed the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year title, little went right for Fix last season but her fresh-up effort on the weekend now has connections thinking of Melbourne.
The Kelso-trained, Gary Harding-owned Bounding is already earmarked for the Victorian spring carnival, with final confirmation hinging on her season opener at Hastings on Saturday week.
SPRING CAMPAIGN: Matamata Horse of the Year Viadana begins her Melbourne spring campaign at Flemington on Saturday.