Orchestral to follow a successful stable path

Orchestral will head to Sydney later this month to tackle the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). Photo: Race Images

Glamour filly Orchestral will defend an elite level title won by a former star stablemate when she makes her Australian debut later this month.

The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-prepared three-year-old will take aim at the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m), claimed last year by the now retired Prowess, at Rosehill on Saturday week.

The Cambridge trainers will also be represented in Melbourne on the same day by promising young stayer Mark Twain.

Orchestral will be reunited with James McDonald, who guided her to victory in the $1.5 million Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m), and the daughter of Savabeel was subsequently equally dominant in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).

“She had her first serious piece of work this (Thursday) morning and was really good and pulled up nicely,” Wellwood said.

“She went to the water treadmill for a week after the Derby and she’s been back in work cantering. She has done very well and looks very good.”

Orchestral will make two appearances in Sydney with the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick a fortnight after the Vinery the favoured second challenge.

“At this stage, it will be the Oaks, but we have left the door open with nominations for the Derby (Group 1, 2400m) and the Queen Elizabeth (Group 1, 2000m). The most likely path is the Vinery to the Oaks,” Wellwood said.

Meanwhile, Michael Dee has been booked to ride the last-start Group 2 Auckland Cup (3200m) placegetter Mark Twain at Flemington on March 30.

“He will run in the Roy Higgins (Listed, 2600m), which is a Melbourne Cup (Group 1, 3200m) qualifier,” Wellwood said.

The four-year-old son of Shocking is a three-time winner and will make his second appearance in Australia.

He finished midfield in last season’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) off the back of his fourth in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).

“He has still got a lot to learn and it was only his 11th start the other day and first time over two miles in the Cup,” Wellwood said.

“He was strong the whole way and when they put the speed on, he was a bit lost as to what to do.

“When he finally figured it out the race had panned out and he ran into a bit of bad luck before he flashed home.

“He’s a good galloper and not may horses can cut out the sectionals he can at the end of a distance race.”

The stable will have limited representation on the domestic front in the coming days, but there will be interest in the debut performance of Northeasterly in the Peninsular Beachfront Resort Mooloolaba (1400m) at New Plymouth on Friday.

To be ridden by Masa Hashizume, the half-brother by The Autumn Sun to former New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Dijon Bleu was purchased out of Landsdowne Park’s draft at Karaka for $900,000.

“He’s taken a bit of time and has showed good ability at the trials and at home,” Wellwood said.

“He’s probably a horse that we would have liked to see at a mile, but we haven’t been able to get a trial into him this time in. He will be better with more time and going further.”

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