Trans-Tasman focus for Team Rogerson

Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) contender Contessa Vanessa. Source: Trish Dunell.

Graeme Rogerson says talented filly Contessa Vanessa makes his job easy.

The New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame trainer has the Bullbars three-year-old in prime condition ahead of Saturday’s $A1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick, though he concedes that’s mainly her own doing.

“She’s such a tough thing. She’s eaten every oat we’ve given her since she got here and she worked a mile and a quarter (2000m) this morning and she was full of running,” Rogerson said.

“She’ll certainly run the mile and a-half on Saturday. I looked over her run in the New Zealand Oaks again and she just had to do a bit much. She wasn’t far away from Savvy Coup and while that filly has to be hard to beat again, I don’t think there’s much between them.”

Contessa Vanessa is having her 11th start this season on Saturday, having distinguished herself with wins in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) and placings in the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m), Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m). But Rogerson said she had continued to thrive and even picked up again now she was in Sydney.

“She’s a great traveller. She just eats, works and sleeps. She makes it easy for me as a trainer,” Rogerson said.

“She’s doing exceptionally well and I think she’ll run really well.”

TAB bookmakers don’t share Rogerson’s confidence and have Contessa Vanessa as a $16 outsider for the Oaks, which also features Kiwi fillies Savvy Coup ($7.50), Danzdanzdance ($17) and (She’s A) Treasure ($34).

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Rogerson said Contessa Vanessa would return to New Zealand next Tuesday, but he wasn’t ruling out a return trip to Australia for the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 5.

“Nothing is out of the question with three-year-olds.

We’ll just see, as long as she’s eating well and going along like she is now,” he said. Rogerson and his training partners Debbie and Bailey Rogerson could have as many as five horses heading for Adelaide, among them Gift Of Power who tackles Saturday’s Listed NZB Finance Sprint (1200m) at Hastings along with stablemate Volks Lightning.

“They’ll both run well on Saturday,” Rogerson said.

“Volks Lightning is weighted up to her best, but she’s going really well at the moment. Chris Johnson just said Gift Of Power didn’t see that other horse [Ozil] coming at Awapuni the other day.

“Chris said she saw him too late and a stride after the line she was back in front again, but the run has done her no harm and she’ll head to Adelaide after this. She flies out on Friday.”

Gift Of Power will tackle the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 5 ahead of the $A1 million Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) at the same track a fortnight later.

Last-start Listed Lightning Handicap (1200m) winner Ferrando will trial at Te Awamutu next Tuesday before heading to Adelaide for the Group 3 Irwin Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville on April 28 and the Goodwood.