Excelsior Island chasing NZ Oaks start

Excelsior Island
Excelsior Island
Promising filly Excelsior Island has two chances to earn her place in next month’s Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).

A start in the feature rests on her performance at Avondale on Wednesday in the New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Pearl Series Race (1600m) with a sterner test to follow.

“We then want to run her in the Sunline Vase a week and a-half later and decide on the Oaks from there,” trainer Mark Forbes said.

“The Oaks wasn’t originally on her programme, but it could be a possibility now.

“She’s a filly with a good pedigree so a bit of black type is the main goal.”

The daughter of Exceed And Excel is a half-sister to the former champion two-year-old Warhorse, winner of the Group 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) and a subsequent Group performer in Australia.

Bred and part-owned by retired Cambridge vet Jonathan Hope, Excelsior Island broke her maiden at her third appearance over 1400m at Te Rapa last time out.

“She’s trained on well since and we’ll probably ride her a bit colder tomorrow,” Forbes said.

Excelsior Island will be partnered by the in-form Jake Bayliss, who guided her to her maiden victory.

“She settles well in her races, she’s a good-natured filly and we definitely think she can get over a trip,” Forbes said.

The Cambridge horseman knows Excelsior Island well, having originally broken her in.

“She went to Australia to Mick Price, but she didn’t settle over there so she came back to Trelawney Stud, where she was born and raised, and then came into work with us,” Forbes said.