A trip north to contest the Group 2 Norwood Family Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham beckons for stakes-winning filly Emily Margaret if she performs well at Wingatui on Saturday.
The Kevin and Pam Hughes-trained galloper will line-up in the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m) on Saturday and her connections are pleased with her in the lead-up to the race.
“She seems fine, she’s freshened-up a wee bit,” Kevin Hughes said.
“We have good paddocks here (Riccarton), so she went down to the paddock every day and just had a swim for a few days, with all these firm tracks, just to get the jar out of them a bit.
“She galloped up on Tuesday and managing with a float trip under her belt she should be spot on for the day.”
Hughes said riding tactics were the undoing of his filly in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) last month with jockey Samantha Collett entering a speed duel with Lisa Allpress, aboard outsider Miss Valencia, down the back straight, with the pair subsequently fading late.
However, he was pleased with her last start runner-up performance over 1400m at Riccarton earlier this month, which Hughes said has readied her for Saturday’s contest.
“She got murdered at Wellington with Lisa (Allpress) and Sam Collett going head-to-head,” Hughes said.
“Next time she came out I said to Sanu (Toolooa, jockey) just to settle her. He did that very well, but I just don’t think the both of them saw that one (Taponisme) flashing down the outside.
“It was a good run and it was good to get that one under her belt and hopefully it should have her back where she should be again.”
Emily Margaret has had an extensive three-year-old preparation, which started back in September with victory in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) and Hughes is hoping his filly can add to that tally on Saturday.
“She’s tough, nothing worries her,” he said. “She eats everything and she just progresses. She’s naturally a bit tubby, so that helps when you have got a big three-year-old season on you.
“Robbie Hannam will ride her and she’ll settle in front, you can take her out if something has a crack.
“She’s the highest rated horse in the field and she’s best to just let roll and set her own pace and tough it out, especially coming up that bit of a dip at Wingatui.”
Hughes is eyeing a return to Trentham next month with his filly if everything goes to plan on Saturday.
“I’m pleased with her. If she comes through the race well then we will probably go and have a look at the boys in the Wellington Guineas,” he said.
“That’s the plan, to have a good run there at Wingatui, hopefully we can win it, and then go up to Wellington.
“The travel doesn’t seem to worry her. She just gets off and carries on.”