Carnival is on the comeback trail to Sydney via Wellington

Smart sprinting mare Carnival is on a return path to Wellington.

The Riccarton-trained four-year-old has the Listed Te Akau Lightning Handicap (1200m) on her programme to open a possible two-start North Island campaign.

“She’ll go up for the Lightning and then maybe a Listed 1200m sprint at Hawke’s Bay,” said Kevin Hughes, who trains the daughter of Showcasing with his wife Pam.

“We’re running out of options for her really. We were toying with the idea of going to the Sydney carnival for a Group 3 fillies and mares on the last day, but we’re in no rush.

“She will get stronger with more time so we’ll wait and look at Australia next season, we think she’s good enough.”

Carnival has won four of her 11 starts, including the Group 3 Stewards Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton in the spring.

She has since finished a gallant sixth in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) and was then freshened before running second on her home track last weekend.

“The draw didn’t help her at Trentham and Cameron Lammas said if she had drawn a closer marble she would have got some of it,” Hughes said.

“She needed the run the other day and when Don Carlo came alongside you couldn’t see her – there’s not much of her, but she is tough.”

Meanwhile, the stable fancy their chances of getting some of their own money back with Bonaparte in the Hughes Racing Stables Rating 85 (1400m) at Riccarton on Thursday.

“We’re very happy with him,” Hughes said. “He can take a sit and if he leads he does relax so we’re quite confident of a good run.”

Bonaparte has won two of his last three starts and with Tanya Jonker’s claim he will drop five kilograms on a last-start fifth on the course.