Fresh mare aiming for the top

Lucyinrio – NZDesk

Lucyinrio opens a Group One preparation on Saturday following a luckless two-start Melbourne campaign in the spring.

The stakes-performed mare makes her first appearance for four months when she tackles the Listed Te Akau Racing Lightning Handicap (1200m).

“She’s going well, although I would have liked to have got a trial into her but Foxton was cancelled,” trainer Kylie Little said.

“She’s been working well so we’ll have a crack and she normally races well first-up.”

Lucyinrio’s autumn target is the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha, a race in which she finished eighth last season and only three lengths from the winner Charmont.

“We’ve planned three races and after Saturday she will step up to 1400m and then to the girls’ race at Te Aroha,” Little said.

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Lucyinrio earned a trip to Australia last year after finishing runner-up in the Gr.3 Red Badge Sprint at Hastings, her second black type placing following a third in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m).

She was unplaced from wide draws in both the Maybe Mahal Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and the Gr.3 Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown.

“Everything that could go wrong did, but we learned a lot,” Little said.

The Opaki horsewoman will also have stable newcomer Ballybay in Saturday’s Lightning Handicap.

“I got him 12 days before he ran second at Hastings,” Little said. “He likes Trentham and he’s been working with Lucyinrio and both have been going well.”

Formerly with Shane Brown, Ballybay has won seven races, two of them over 1000m on the Wellington course.

“It will be interesting to see how he goes and as an older horse if he can get over a bit further,” Little said.