Mandy Brown has no complaints as her first training experience in Sydney continues to go to plan with New Zealand filly La Bella Diosa.
Fresh from a successful Australian debut in the Surround Stakes at Randwick last month, the three-year-old has been blessed with a helpful barrier draw for Saturday’s Group One Coolmore Classic at Rosehill.
La Belle Diosa and new jockey Jay Ford jump from gate three in the feature over 1500m, yet another positive as Brown looks towards the Group One $1.1 million Australian Oaks at Randwick on April 8.
“Her last runs in Surround and the upcoming Classic, they’re the two best draws she’s had in her career,” Brown enthused.
La Bella Diosa stunned the Surround field from barrier one – the first time she had encountered a heavy track despite racing in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island.
“In the Barneswood (Ashburton) and the Group One (Thousand Guineas at Riccarton), both times she drew out (8 and 9) so our only option was to go back.”
La Bella Diosa was unfazed before winning both races and she showed her versatility by winning the Surround after coasting handy to midfield before powering to the line.
“I’d be hoping she’d jump and pick up a nice position like she did in the Surround,” Brown said.
Brown was also hopeful Sydney’s weather would improve before she heads home – no rain is forecast on Saturday but Rosehill is currently a heavy 8 – to dispel any notion La Bella Diosa only a threat when the going is tough.
“The general observation after her win was Kiwi horses love wet tracks,” she said.
“I’d like to get her on a better track, I know she’s got a great turn of foot on good ground.”
La Bella Diosa is rated the $9.50 fourth favourite with the TAB behind Omei Sword ($3.50), Dixie Blossoms ($7) and Global Glamour ($8.50).
“I think it’s a pretty even field,” Brown said, preferring to focus on her runner.
“The preparation has been good, her work’s been good. She’s trained on well.”
Brown has previously raced horses in Melbourne and was enjoying her first campaign in Sydney saying: “The people have been fantastic all the way through.”