Cambridge trainer Roger James isn't convinced he has pulled the right rein, but he's still not ruling out a Travis Stakes win with Zonza at Te Rapa on Saturday.
James entered Zonza in both the Gr. n2 $100,000 Travis Stakes (2000m) and the Gr. 3 Japan Racing Association Plate (2025m) at Randwick, opting for the former after a long think.
"It was a 50-50 call," James said from his Cambridge home.
"I thought she looked very well placed over there and now the rain has come here, it looks like she might have been better placed there. I still think she's capable of winning the Travis, but the conditions will have a bearing on that."
The Te Rapa track was rated a dead six on yesterday morning but steady rain fell throughout the afternoon.
Zonza, a winner of the Gr. 3 Ladies Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield last October, goes into the Travis Stakes after an unplaced run in the Gr. 1 Easter Handicap at Ellerslie where she was trapped wide from an outside draw.
"The run wasn't all bad,” said James. “She covered a huge amount of territory and still only finished three lengths from the winner. And her work on Tuesday was the best of her preparation.”
Bred and raced by Brendon and Jo Lindsay, Zabeel five-year-old mare Zonza has won five of her 18 starts and finished second in a further six appearances.
Should she race up to James' expectations on Saturday, she could earn herself an Australian campaign, either in Sydney or Brisbane.
James has several runners at Te Rapa on trial for a Brisbane campaign, including Gr. 3 Cambridge Jockey Club Breeders' Stakes (1200m) candidates Miss Foxwood and Katie's Cove, along with fellow three-year-olds Full Count, Delago's Secret and Harmonize, who contest the $20,000 The Clubhouse Sports Bar Premier (2000m).
Katie's Cove, third on the ballot for the Breeders' Stakes, is one of five entries for James at Avondale tomorrow.
Recent Gr. 3 Manawatu Classic winner Lady Cumquat is another earmarked to be part of James' Brisbane team.
- The Informant