Charms Star has quickly returned to winning form to lay a disappointing spring to rest and she will front up at Te Rapa on Saturday in first class order.
The daughter of Per Incanto will take aim at the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) with Wiremu Pinn to continue his association with the Lisa Latta-trained mare and he will again partner stablemate Lincoln Star in the Hutton Contracting Handicap (2400m).
Pinn rode the latter to victory at Awapuni last time out and has formed a strong association with Latta, having combined with the Palmerston North trainer on 57 occasions for an impressive 10 wins and 19 placings.
Charms Star opened her current preparation when eighth in the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham and then stayed on gamely to claim the Group 3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2000m) on her home track after going to the front 1200m from home.
“I’m really happy to get her back and she has really trained on well since. She was still carrying a fair bit of condition and she’s improved out of sight since Awapuni,” Latta said.
“I thought she would go a bold race, but didn’t know if she could win. It did surprise me and I thought she may have been a run away.”
Charms Star measured up well against the best fillies last season and finished runner-up in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) before she joined Chris Waller’s stable and ran second in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
She remained in Australia, but failed to recapture any form in five outings as a four-year-old. “She just didn’t come up at all in the spring and came home,” Latta said.
Future autumn goals for Charms Star will be discussed after the weekend.
“We’ll just wait and see what happens on Saturday, we may look at Brisbane again but we just want to get through this run and then make a decision,” Latta said.
Barnmate Lincoln Star turned in a gallant effort to win for the fifth time in his career at his most recent appearance and is expected to relish the 2400 metre trip on Saturday.
“He’s very genuine and he’s not a big horse who tries really hard,” Latta said.
She will have a number of runners closer to home at Wanganui, including Sir Nate in the Floyd & Toy Real Estate Property Brokers Handicap (2060m). He was third two runs back over a mile before an unplaced effort in the Listed Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m).
“I couldn’t really make much of that. The boy (Ashvin Mudhoo) rode him well and I think the 2200m finds him out so back in trip with the fire out of the ground will certainly help him,” Latta said.
She also has the debutantes Elcheikhali and Media Miss in the Wanganui-Taranaki Racehorse Owners’ Association 2YO (1200m).
“It’s very hard to split them, I’m really happy with both of them. They are both very nice fillies and both trialled up very well at Foxton and they will go on and make lovely three-year-olds,” Latta said.