Monday’s New Zealand racing wrap

Emperors Way & Almost Court
Almost Court (inside) features in Monday’s NZ racing wrap.

Cuddle next stop for Flamingo

Talented mare Flamingo has earned herself a return to black type company.

The Pins four-year-old posted her third career victory on Saturday when she accounted for a Rating 65 line-up at Trentham where she will back-up this weekend in the Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m).

“She was going to go to the trials at Foxton, but they were cancelled and she needed a run before the Cuddle,” said Emma Haworth, who trains Flamingo with her father David.

“She’s pulled up well and we think she’ll be hard to beat.”

Flamingo has already made her mark at Group Three level, having finished third in last season’s Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa.

Lightly-tried filly thriving

Gold Spice is ready for the toughest test of her fledgling career.

The Waikato Stud-bred and raced daughter of Rock ‘n’ Pop booked her trip to Trentham for Saturday’s Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) with a last-start second in the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m).

“She’s still got a bit to learn and she’ll only be having her fifth start, but we’re pretty happy with her,” said Graham Richardson, who trains the filly with Gavin Parker.

Jake Bayliss will replace a suspended Michael Coleman aboard Gold Spice, who is currently at $12 in the Oaks market.

Australian move paying winning dividends

Brian Court’s decision to send Almost Court to Australia continues to reap rewards.

The Riccarton horseman celebrated black type success with the son of Alamosa and the former Group One winner Cinder Bella in Sunday’s Listed Canberra Cup (2000m), his sixth win since crossing the Tasman.

Court now shares in the ownership with Canberra trainers Barbara and Paul Jones and a group of long-term clients and first-time owners.

“There’s a crew of 10 blokes who have their first horse and they think the game’s that easy,” Jones said.

Almost Court was a maiden winner when he crossed the Tasman and he has subsequently added a further six victories.

Blinkers make the difference

Blinkers are bringing the best out of the Ardmore Lodge-trained Its Destinys Child.

Sporting headgear for the first time, she overcame a three-wide run at Ellerslie on Saturday to account for her Rating 65 rivals and connections have no doubt she will continue to progress through the grades.

“The blinkers have made her run straighter and she did a great job, she’s a good mare,” said Bob Vance, who trains with his wife Jenny.

In a family affair, Its Destinys Child was ridden to victory by their daughter Maija.

The mare is a half-sister to Howbowdat, who won three in a row for the Vances before her third placing on Saturday.

Walker booked for Kiwi filly

In-form expatriate New Zealand jockey Michael Walker will partner the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs-trained Danzdanzdance in Sydney.

He has been engaged to ride the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) placegetter in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 31 and in the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick a fortnight later.

Walker rode the 20th Group One winner of his career when he guided Harlem to an upset victory in Saturday’s Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.