Former Australian galloper Sasso Corbaro will get the chance to add some valuable black-type to her page when she competes in the Listed Gavelhouse.com Lightning Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on Saturday.
It will be the four-year-old mare’s second start in New Zealand and she left quite the impression on new trainer Jamie Richards with her fresh-up win over 1200m at Otaki last month.
“It was a really good win, to miss the kick like she did and come right down the outside and beat them hands down (by 2-1/2 lengths),” Richards said.
“I’m really happy with the way she has come through the race.”
The China Horse Club-owned mare was sent to Richards earlier this year in a bid to gain black-type, but the Matamata trainer believes she will have her work cut out against a quality field on Saturday.
“I thought it was a pretty strong rendition of the race, not often do you get those 100 raters in there,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the challenge, she is down in the weights and hopefully she can be competitive.
“When you are a rating 83 mare, Princess Kereru is in there rated 97, and you give them three kilos, it makes it hard to compete.”
While it will be a stern test for the former Kris Lees-trained mare on Saturday, Richards said he is pleased with his charge heading into the race.
“She’s good,” he said. “She just did some nice easy work at Matamata on Tuesday morning. I don’t think she takes a lot of work. She seems to race well on the fresh side.”
Meanwhile, Richards is hoping for some rain ahead of Saturday for Group 2 Norwood Family Wellington Guineas (1400m) contender Weaponry.
The three-year-old gelding is fresh off a southern campaign, which included a last start victory in the Listed Southland Guineas (1600m) at Ascot Park last month.
“I thought it (southern campaign) was really good,” Richards said. “He’s a little bit stiff probably not to win a couple of those races. He’s freshened up nicely down in the South Island and appears to be in good order.
“A bit like the Lightning, it is a really strong race and he would need some rain to be competitive, but if they do get a bit of rain he could be.
“He is certainly a very happy and bright horse at the moment. Everything has gone to plan since he ran at Invercargill.”
Win, lose or draw, Weaponry will head to the spelling paddock after Saturday with an eye towards some middle-distance targets in the new season.
“He spells after Saturday,” Richards said. “He’s earnt a rest and we think he can develop into a nice middle-distance horse for next year.”