Annabel Neasham will rely on Pushpa to fly the flag for the stable in the juvenile races at Rosehill, hopeful the filly can emulate the feat of stablemate Learning To Fly by winning the Widden Stakes on debut.
While Neasham won’t have a runner in the Canonbury Stakes (1100m) for the colts and geldings, she has seen enough from Pushpa to be confident of a competitive showing.
“We’re a bit light on the colt front,” Neasham said.
“We’ve got nothing in the Canonbury (Stakes), but we might have Pushpa in the Widden (Stakes).
“She is a Pierata filly who won a trial last week and she’s a nice filly.”
A $480,000 Magic Millions buy, Pushpa is out of Oregon’s Day, a Listed winner at two who went on to capture a trio of Group races up to 1800 metres.
The youngster has trialled three times in preparation for Saturday, winning her latest 900m heat at Rosehill where she sat three-wide on the speed before pulling clear in a promising performance.
Neasham and Chad Schofield combined to claim the Widden Stakes 12 months ago with Learning To Fly, that filly winning the feature at her first start and following it with victories in the Inglis Millennium and Reisling Stakes before being knocked out of contention in the Golden Slipper when she suffered severe interference approaching the home turn.
The Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) will also be the kick-off point for Gimcrack Stakes winner Manaal, along with Tulloch Lodge filly Lady Of Camelot, who finished fourth as favourite in the Gimcrack.
The Canonbury Stakes (1100m) has attracted a field of eight, led by Godolphin youngster Traffic Warden, a Caulfield winner in December, along with Prost and Fearless, who both resume after finishing third and fourth respectively in the Breeders’ Plate.
Neasham will have at least one runner in the Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) with in-form mare Lady Laguna returning from a confidence-building Queensland stint, while Percy Sykes Stakes winner Kristilli is a dual acceptor for the Group 3 sprint and a benchmark race later on the program.
Lady Laguna is on a hat-trick having captured the Listed Nudgee Stakes and Magic Millions fillies and mares’ at her past two starts, while Kristilli is bidding to recapture her juvenile form after failing to fire in two spring runs.
Neasham also confirmed Learning To Fly, who had her second trial back at Warwick Farm on Tuesday, would have an exhibition gallop before resuming in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m), while she was yet to lock in plans for veteran stable star Zaaki but said he would definitely be back at the races.
“I was with him (on Friday), he is down pre-training on the beach,” Neasham said of Zaaki.
“He looks great. I haven’t picked out a target yet, but you’ll see him again.”
– RAS NewsWire