Classy Queensland filly Italia Bella will take another step to the Group One Australian Oaks when she runs at the Gold Coast.
Italia Bella steps up in distance on Saturday to 1800 metres in preparation for her trip to Sydney.
Stakes-placed twice at two, Italia Bella won her maiden in style by three lengths on February 11 and added a benchmark 75 victory by 5-3/4 lengths last Saturday week with both her wins on her home track at the Sunshine Coast.
Trainer Stuart Kendrick is looking to head south with Italia Bella to tackle the Vinery Stud Stakes Stakes (2000m) on March 31 and the Australian Oaks (2400m) two weeks later.
“The Gold Coast run is the natural progression from 1600 metres to 1800 to 2000 to 2400,” Kendrick said.
“If she can’t measure up on the Gold Coast it isn’t much use worrying about Sydney.”
By Fastnet Rock, Italia Bella is out of Group One winner Pear Tart and is owned by a group which includes some of Queensland’s biggest owners, in Bill Andrews, Ross and Judy Cutts and Neil Douglas.
The Cutts family celebrated a winner at the weekend when Charnely River won at Gulfstream Park in the United States.
Charnley River, who ran second in the 2016 Group One J J Atkins Stakes, was sent to race in America after bleeding twice.