Llanacord will likely contest the Gr.3 South Australian Fillies Classic (2500m) on May 15.  Photo: Race Images

Group Three option for Llanacord

NZ Racing Desk
4 May 2021

Manawatu filly Llanacord will in all likelihood stick to taking on her own sex in South Australia after racing without luck in Saturday’s Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville.

The Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) third-place finisher is nominated for the Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville this weekend, but her trainer Stephen Nickalls said the filly is more likely to head to the Gr.3 South Australian Fillies Classic (2500m) on May 15.

“She’s in the Derby, but there’s some very good horses like (Australian Derby winner) Explosive Jack in that race so I’m 99 percent sure she won’t run in that,” Nickalls said.

“She worked really well when I rode her on Tuesday and a Group Three in Australia is well worth going for.”

The form book says Llanacord finished 10th of 16 in the Australasian Oaks, but she was just 3.1 lengths behind the winner, Media Award, and came from well off the pace to work home solidly in a messy race despite a genuine tempo. 

“We had hoped to be off the rail closer to the pace, but she jumped on the back foot a little bit and Brett Prebble decided to take her to the rail, which we thought was the best part of the track when we walked it earlier,” Nickalls said.

“He was hoping some gaps would appear but there were none and by the time she got into the clear it was all over.”

Llanacord finished the race off as well as anything and her final 600m of 35.02 seconds was the fifth-fastest of the race, not a bad effort given her traffic difficulties.

“I was really happy with the run given the circumstances,” Nickalls said. “We know she will run a mile and a half well so the Fillies Classic will be a great last race for her this season.”

Nickalls said no plans had been made for the filly’s four-year-old campaign but he expected given her staying prowess that the middle distance cups races in New Zealand would be on the cards.

In the meantime, Nickalls has been finding it a bit strange working with one horse rather than the eight or nine that tend to keep him busy at his home farm in Rangiotu, near Palmerston North.

However, his five-year-old daughter has given him plenty to do.

“I’m shopping for toys at Myer at the moment. She’s given me a list of things to look for and it’s keeping me busy.”

Meanwhile, fellow New Zealand filly Tokorangi is being checked over after an injury last Friday prevented her from starting in the Australasian Oaks.

“She cut her hind leg on Friday, which ruled her out of the Australasian Oaks,” co-trainer Mike Moroney said of the Waikato Guineas winner.

“The vets are going to assess her, and if it looks like the injury might heal quickly, we’ll have a look at whether to take her to Queensland.”

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