Impressive last-start Tauranga winner Rondinella will step up to stakes company for the first time in Saturday week’s Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.
Interest in the Ocean Park filly was heightened after Cambridge trainer Roger James described her as “the best I’ve had since Silent Achiever” after her Tauranga maiden win.
James’ racing manager Robert Wellwood said Rondinella had progressed well and deserved her shot at the Desert Gold Stakes.
“We’ve just taken it quietly with her since Tauranga because she’s a filly that doesn’t take a lot of work,” he said.
“It’s very early on. She’s just a maiden winner, but we’ll go to the Desert Gold and then take each step as it comes after that. There are plenty of options toward the Oaks or the Derby and there are options across the Tasman.”
Rondinella is the TAB’s equal $10 favourite for the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 17 but will meet fellow NZ Oaks contenders Milseain and Swiss Precision in the Desert Gold Stakes.
She is not nominated for the $1 Group 1 million Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 3, a race Silent Achiever won in 2012, the first of her four Group One wins.