Talented Matamata galloper Hello M’Lady is poised to hand trainer Vicki Prendergast the biggest win of her career in Saturday’s Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.
The four-year-old Shocking mare goes into the race second-up for her preparation after scampering home for eighth at Matamata resuming last month, clocking the quickest last 600m split of a race won off the front.
“She’s pretty well. She ran home beautifully here last time. She just got hung out the back, but she got home well,” Prendergast said.
A winner of three of her 18 starts, Hello M’Lady placed in the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) and Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie last season, as well as finishing a luckless fifth in the Gr.3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki.
She proved she had come back a stronger mare when she finished fourth in the Listed Jakkalberry Classic (1950m) at Rotorua in the spring, a performance that has prompted Prendergast to target the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa next month.
But first, there’s the Cuddle Stakes and, should she perform well in Saturday’s set-weights and penalties fillies and mares feature, the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 7 and the Gr.2 Easter Handicap (1600m) at Pukekohe on April 21 will be considered.
“She runs out the mile well and I’m pretty happy with her,” Prendergast said.
“I’d like to go to Te Aroha, but we’ve got to get some points on Saturday to make sure she gets a start.”
TAB bookmakers opened Hello M’Lady as an $18 outsider for the Cuddle Stakes after she drew barrier 15 but Prendergast, who has engaged premiership-leading jockey Sam Collett to ride, was confident her charge was a winning chance.
“I expect her to run a nice race. She’s drawn the carpark, but she’ll run well. She has to go forward from that draw,” Prendergast said.
“She’s galloping beautifully and I’m really happy with her. Certainly she’s a winning chance. I wouldn’t be going down there if I didn’t think so.”