Bunny Bad Girl on the hop for Highway

Melissa Dennett will take her first runner to Sydney for the Highway Plate at Rosehill although the fledgling Tamworth trainer is hardly venturing into the unknown.

Dennett only took out her trainers’ licence in April and her solitary winner, Kentuckian, scored at the Talmoi picnic races last month, but Dennett is accustomed to life among racing’s royalty.

Her parents Steve and Lesley were both jockeys and after moving to Australia from New Zealand they joined Gai Waterhouse’s staff.

“I grew up around Gai and worked for her for five years,” Dennett said.

“I went to school after I rode track work. If I see her at the sales she still comes over and says ‘Hello’. She never forgets you.”

Dennett hopes their paths cross on Saturday and ideally it would be a particularly memorable experience.

Bunny Bad Girl is among the pick of the stock she took over from former partner Leon Davies.

“She’s always had ability but she’s a bit of a slow maturing big filly,” she said.

“I’ve always had a Highway in the back of my mind for her. As long as she handles the trip to Sydney she should run well.”

Dennett was unfazed at Bunny Bad Girl attempting 1500 metres for the first time, after she ran second at her first try at 1300m at Gunnedah on July 7.

“She got a bit of interference but got to the line really well,” Dennett said.

“Josh (Adams) thought she could go further when he got off.”

Dennett thought Bunny Bad Girl could be aimed at the Country Championships next autumn, although an impressive Sydney debut was the primary goal.

“It was great a good friend of mine (Katie Spalding) happened to ride my first winner, other than that it’s been a bit frustrating,” Dennett said.

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