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The performances at Wanganui of Luna Rossa and Highlad will have a major bearing on the future directions of their three-year-old campaigns.
The highly-regarded pair are potential Melbourne spring carnival candidates and their prospects of crossing the Tasman will be significantly boosted if they turn in bold showings on Saturday.
|Luna Rossa Photo: Race Images Palmerston North|
Top filly Luna Rossa will resume in the Listed The O’Leary’s Fillies’ Stakes while Highlad takes aim at the Listed H. S. Dyke Wanganui Guineas.
Last season’s Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes winner, Luna Rossa was a trial winner at Te Teko earlier this month and she will again be ridden by champion jockey Lisa Allpress.
“She’s been a bit of a surprise and she always seems to step up and do what’s needed,” said Andrew Forsman, who trains the daughter of Written Tycoon with Murray Baker.
“She’s pretty forward and it won’t be a lack of fitness that beats her.
“There are obvious options for her – she’s nominated for the Guineas in Melbourne and here, but we’ll see what happens on Saturday first.”
Highlad was also a trial winner at Te Teko and he then made an impressive winning debut at Avondale in the hands of Matt Cameron, who retains the ride at Wanganui.
The son of High Chaparral and the Australian Group One performer My Lady’s Chamber is a possible Gr.1 VRC Derby contender.
“We don’t necessarily expect him to beat Lisa Latta’s horse (Manhattan Street) or Brendon Hawtin’s (Quantum), they are more seasoned,” Forsman said.
“He doesn’t have to win to book himself a trip, he just needs to go a good race. He looks a serious prospect and he’s quite a mature spring three-year-old who should be able to cope with what’s expected.” – NZ Racing Desk.