Donizetti shaping up for course and distance test

Awapuni black type contender Donizetti. Source: Race Images

Smart mare Donizetti has a gilt-edged opportunity to add black type to her record on her favourite track on Friday.

The Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie-trained Darci Brahma mare will run in the Group 3 LJ Hooker Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2000m) and a chance for black type as her current campaign draws to a close.

“She’s going really well and she loves Awapuni,” said Gary Cossey, racing manager for owner Sir Peter Vela.

“She’s getting toward the end of her preparation and this is the race we have targeted, it’s her grand final really.”

A two-time winner on the Palmerston North course, Donizetti was unplaced at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day in her only appearance beyond a mile, but her connections feel the time is now right for her to shine over ground.

“The way she has been racing indicates that 2000m is going to be ideal for her,” Cossey said. “She was super in the Cuddle so we expect her to run very well.”

At her most recent appearance, Donizetti finished sixth in the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham where she hit the line well after an interrupted run. Danielle Johnson will take the ride and she will also don Sir Peter’s colours at Te Aroha on Saturday aboard the Ken and Bev Kelso-prepared Cote D’Or in the Group 1 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).

“Ken and Bev are really happy with her and she’s had a lovely preparation for the race,” Cossey said. “They have been very patient with her, she missed the summer racing to steer away from the hard ground.

She’s going well now and at the peak of her form.” Cote D’Or won first-up at Matamata two runs back and then finished strongly for second at Rotorua.