Plans up in the air for talented mare
A barnstorming finish for third in the Gr.3 Toy Show Quality (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday has forced the connections of talented New Zealand mare Xpression into a rethink about her future plans.
The former Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) placegetter, who races as My Xpression in Australia, joined the Sydney stable of Chris Waller at the start of the year after winning three of her seven starts in New Zealand for trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen.
She failed to fire in her first two starts for Waller and was sent to the spelling paddock before commencing her latest campaign with a lacklustre effort for fifth at Rosehill earlier this month.
Haunui Farm Managing Director Mark Chitty, who co-bred the mare in partnership with Whanakino Ltd.’s Ian Renton and shares in the ownership with Renton and several other close friends, admitted the team had been considering retiring their charge to the broodmare paddock before Saturday’s improved effort.
“That run caught us by surprise a bit as we weren’t really sure what to expect from her,” Chitty said.
“It is fair to say she hadn’t fired in any of her first three runs over there, although she had drawn an outside barrier for every one of those races.
“We had been thinking that we would most likely send her straight to stud if she didn’t come up but that run was very encouraging and has us thinking again.”
Settled back by apprentice Brock Ryan, My Xpression charged home in the final 200m to claim third and secure some valuable Australian black-type next to her name.
“It was a good ride from the young fellow and we reaped the rewards,” Chitty said.
“To get some Australian black-type is great for her future career as a broodmare so it is job done in that respect.
“The syndicate will sit down and think about what comes next but at this stage I think we will probably breed her and then she can race on for a time after that.
“She has been booked to go to Snitzel, so once she is safely in foal we can plan with Chris where she goes after that.”
Chitty is also eagerly anticipating the raceday return of promising stayer Rondinella who had a solid hit-out at the Taupo trials last Wednesday in her first serious gallop of a new campaign that has a tilt at some Australian spring features as the main goal.
The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained five-year-old, who races in the ownership of Haunui Farm and Cathy Franich (Frantic Bloodstock) who bred her along with Garry Cranny, is being set for a possible tilt at the Gr.1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) following a successful end to her last campaign which saw her place third behind Avilius in the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) and then fourth in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
“She (Rondinella) went really well in her trial although she blew out quite badly at the end which we expected would be the case,” Chitty said.
“She will take enormous benefit from that run as it will bring her fitness on.
“I think Roger and Robert weren’t too sure just where she was at fitness-wise as it is a tough ask to be getting horses ready on our wet winter tracks, so that should have given them a good line on her.
“She showed she was competitive against the best when she was in Australia last time so we are pretty excited about her prospects again this time if she can perform to that level again.