In-form Apostrophe on Queensland short list

A Queensland campaign is on the cards for Apostrophe. Photo: Race Images Palmerston North

Late bloomer Apostrophe executed a near perfect domestic autumn campaign to put herself in line for a trip to the Queensland winter carnival.

While the overseas venture has yet to be locked in, the daughter of Tavistock is a strong contender to be given the opportunity to chase Australian black-type and further boost her future broodmare value.

“We have freshened her a bit and there is a Listed mile on June 15 and a Listed fillies and mares’ race over 2100m on the 29th for her,” said Roger James, who trains Apostrophe with Robert Wellwood.

The Eagle Farm events on the radar are The Wayne Wilson and the Tattersalls Gold Crown.

“Nothing is certain at this stage. I’ve got to be happy with her work and happy in every way but it’s certainly a strong possibility,” James said.

Apostrophe finished runner-up in the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) three runs back before claiming the Group 3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2100m) and the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m).

“She was very, very good and has come of age as a six-year-old,” James said.

“She is feeding better now than she has for her whole life, she had always been a poor feeder before and is just coping so well.

“Providing I am happy with her, it (Brisbane) is a distinct possibility.”

Apostrophe has won seven races from 1400m to 2100m from just 21 appearances, although it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

“She hasn’t been the soundest mare to train and we’ve hard to work around a few issues with her,” James said.

“I thought that it may have been her last run when she won at Te Rapa but honestly, she has bounced through it better than she ever has any other run.

“We decided to give her a freshen and look at those two races, they fit in well with the direct flights.

“There’s a flight on June 8 and it was going to be a long haul to go through Sydney and then all the way up there.

“Obviously, we would be going to try and get some black type for her breeding career.”

Meanwhile, rising staying star Mark Twain is back in the stable while glamour three-year-old Orchestral continues to enjoy time in the paddock.

Mark Twain finished third in the Group 3 Auckland Cup (3200m) and then booked a Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) berth when he powered home from the tail of the field to win the Listed Roy Higgins (2600m) at Flemington.

“He’s grown and strengthened and just looks magnificent. He is a big, big bulk of a horse now,” James said.

“To be fair, I thought he might be a Melbourne Cup horse one day and thought it would be in another year’s time, but I am really heartened by the way he has strengthened during his spell.

“He has come back in tremendous order, he really has.”

Orchestral won five on the bounce, including the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) before she finished third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).

“I saw her last week and she’d had just a month out then. She has grown and certainly strengthened and decided to give her another couple of weeks out,” James said.

“She had a big three-year-old year and we have made no plans yet as to what to do with her as a four-year-old.

“I would be keen to give her a pretty light spring though and concentrate more on the autumn.”

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