Coventina Bay has proven herself against the best in New Zealand and on Saturday she will get her chance to test herself against some of Australia’s finest horseflesh in the Gr.2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast.
The daughter of Shamexpress has been in fine form in her homeland, finishing runner-up in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) to The Chosen One in January before winning the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and Gr.1 Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m).
She posted another strong result last start when second to Imperatriz in the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m), but trainer Robbie Patterson said she may have had her excuses.
“After she ran second in the last Group One, a couple of days later she had a blowout of her heel, so she had an infection in there when she raced, so that would have been niggling her a bit,” Patterson said.
“It has been a bit angry since. We changed the shoes on her and I think that was aggravating as well.
“I got the farrier in yesterday and he changed the shoes around and she worked a lot better today (Thursday).”
Despite her foot issues, Patterson said she has settled in well to her new environment at Deagon racecourse.
“Deagon is only 20 minutes from Eagle Farm, but it is a lot quieter. Everyone out here is really helpful and they have got a beautiful training track,” he said.
“She has settled in great. She travelled well and she has done everything right. She is a seasoned campaigner now.”
Coventina Bay will be met by a strong line-up on Saturday, including fellow multiple Group One winners Zaaki and Kolding.
“We are going to get rain on Friday at the Gold Coast, which will suit her more than some others, but she will need all the help she can get,” Patterson said.
“She is towards the end of her career, but she looks a million dollars. She will have to run to her best to be competitive against these guys.
“But they have got four legs and eat and breathe the same stuff. I am under no illusions, but we are here and we are having a go. We have got a good horse, so why not?”
Coventina Bay will be partnered this weekend by expat Kiwi jockey Samantha Collett, who accompanied the Patterson team to Queensland last year before deciding to make the move permanent.
If Coventina Bay performs well this weekend, Patterson is eyeing two further races with his mare in Queensland.
“If she is competitive and comes through Saturday well she will go to the Doomben Cup (Gr.1, 2000m). They were going to be her only two runs, but if she is well there is the Q22 (Gr.2, 2218m) three weeks later.”
Patterson is also looking forward to lining up Nom De Plume over 1800m at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.
“I have got Nom De Plume in on Sunday at the Sunshine Coast and Craig (Grylls) is coming over to ride her, and hopefully she will get through to the Queensland Oaks (Gr.1, 2200m) and Craig will carry on riding her.
“I am really confident with Nom De Plume, she is a really promising staying filly.
“We have just taken them for a pick of grass and she is bucking on the spot, so she is rearing to go. She is hard fit and I expect a bold effort from her.”
Patterson said he could add some more firepower to his Queensland arsenal.
“We are toying with the idea of The Fearless One coming over after he won on Saturday,” he said.
“We are looking at the Chairman’s (Gr.3, 2000m) and maybe the Brisbane Cup (Gr.2, 2400m). The plane is not until the 12th, so we will give him a few days to see where he is at and make a decision from there.”
– NZ Racing Desk