A return to his favourite track, a proven ability to mix it at the top level and an impressive lead-up trial all point to another bold showing from quality sprinter Mascarpone on Saturday.
The Team Rogerson-trained five-year-old will step out in the Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) to head the stable’s black-type assault at Te Rapa where Princess Lowry will be looking to turn her luck around in the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m).
They will also be double handed in the Group 3 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (1200m) with Gwen Stephani and Villon to tackle the juvenile feature reprogrammed from last weekend’s abandoned Taranaki fixture.
Mascarpone has won twice on the course, including successes last season in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m) and was third in the 2021 BCD Group Sprint behind Avantage.
The son of Shooting To Win was also placed in the Legacy Lodge two runs back before he again finished third in the Group 1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) and earlier this month beat race rival Entriviere in a Te Rapa trial over 1000m.
“He goes well at Te Rapa and he’s up against good horses again, but his record is very good so it will be interesting,” said Graeme Rogerson, who shares in the ownership of the chestnut.
“His trial was nice and topped him off and he’s a far better horse left-handed, I don’t run him right-handed anymore.”
Princess Lowry has yet to win a race, but she has distinguished herself well in strong age group company and is on a path toward next month’s Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
The Roc de Cambes filly has placed this preparation at Group Two level in the Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and the Royal Stakes (2000m), both times overcoming three-wide runs at Ellerslie.
At her most recent appearance in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m), she petered out to finish ninth after again racing wide with no cover.
“She’s drawn a good alley this time and I worked her on Tuesday and she was top class so I was very happy. Lynsey (Satherley) rode her so I’ve put her on for race day,” Rogerson said.
Saturday’s performance will decide the venue of Princess Lowry’s final outing ahead of the Oaks. She will either run in the Group 2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on March 2 or the Group 2 McKee Family Sunline Vase (2000m) at Ellerslie three days later.
“She has certainly gone well at Ellerslie right-handed, she’s going the other way this weekend so we’ll see what happens,” Rogerson said.
El Roca’s daughter Gwen Stephani won on a wet track at Matamata ahead of a break and finished runner-up when resuming at Tauranga before she was unplaced in the Karaka Million (1200m) while trial winner Villon will oppose her in his first outing.
“They are a couple of nice horses and if any rain comes Gwen Stephani will be a really good chance,” Rogerson said.
Villon, a son of Almanzor, will make his debut on Saturday off the back of a trial win on the synthetic track at Cambridge last month and a runner-up finish at Ellerslie.
“It’s a big ask of him first-up so we’ll see,” Rogerson said. “He is more of a three-year-old type, but he is a really nice horse and he’s progressed with each trial so I’m happy with him as well.”