Racing: Habibi ready to do battle

Trainers happy with top Kiwi filly as she prepares to take on best Sydneysiders.

Habibi will face Australia's leading fillies in the Vinery Stakes on Saturday. Photo / Richard Robinson
Habibi will face Australia's leading fillies in the Vinery Stakes on Saturday. Photo / Richard Robinson

Habibi is primed and ready for her Australian debut at Rosehill with her trainers confident the filly will improve further towards her main goal.

Saturday's Vinery Stud Stakes will serve as her lead-up to the Australian Oaks on April 20 and Donna Logan said the preparation had gone smoothly.

"She galloped well on Tuesday morning and that was pretty much her final piece of work and she will fly over to Sydney on Thursday evening.

"We're more than happy with her and she's probably a touch underdone, but she's got the flight there and we want to keep some petrol in the tank going towards the Oaks.

"She's not wound right up yet and will improve from the Vinery, but that's the way you want it."

The TV3 New Zealand Derby winner, who will be reunited with the now Adelaide-based Vinnie Colgan in Sydney, beat the colts and geldings at Ellerslie on a relatively light preparation and had thrived on a similar approach.

"She had seven weeks between the Championship Stakes and the Avondale Guineas and then into the Derby and that didn't worry her at all," said Logan, who prepares the Ekraar 3-year-old with Dean.

"We've x-rayed all her legs and joints and they are 100 per cent clean so there have been no problems at all. It's all pretty much fallen into place and no issues to be worried about.

"She hasn't flown before and she's got to adjust to a new environment so they are unknowns at this stage, but she is usually very relaxed so we're hoping she handles all that and I think she will."

One of Habibi's rivals will be the Nigel Blackiston-trained You're So Good and he's confident she has the potential to match it with her Sydney rivals.

An all-the-way victory to You're So Good in the Listed Alexandra Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last start backed up her second in the Australian Guineas and earned her a trip to Sydney for the Vinery (2000m).

"On the form she has shown I believe she's been one of the best fillies in Melbourne," Blackiston said.

"Obviously she'll be taking on horses like Dear Demi and Norzita and the good filly from New Zealand [Habibi], so it will be a tough race and we're racing the reverse way - but I think she's good enough.

"Whether she's good enough this time in, we'll find out. But she certainly will be later on."

You're So Good, to be ridden by Vlad Duric, continued her preparations with a workout going the Sydney direction at Flemington yesterday. "I've given her three or four gallops the reverse way and she's adapted very easily," Blackiston said.

Meanwhile, Golden Slipper favourite Overreach has drawn the rails for the rich 2-year-old race on Saturday. The filly tightened her grip on favouritism when she drew gate one and her main rival Villa Verde came up with barrier 17.

She is one of three runners for trainer Gai Waterhouse, who is trying to win the race for the fifth time.

Stablemates Whittington and Sweet Idea will start from gates 10 and four respectively.

Criterion, winner of the Black Opal Stakes and Todman Stakes at his past two runs, will from barrier two.

Cambridge filly Ruud Awakening will have to overcome the widest draw in the 16-horse field, plus two emergencies, drawing barrier 18.

- NZ Racing Desk, AAP

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