Racing: Won't be just a waltz for Piccadilly Princess

By Michael Guerin

Piccadilly Princess's co-trainer Mark Purdon
Piccadilly Princess's co-trainer Mark Purdon

Punters needn't have any concerns about Piccadilly Princess being flattened by her last-start national record when she heads to Cambridge tonight.

Because the greatly improved filly has come through her Northern Oaks victory so well her connections have even lined up a bonus Oaks for her.

Piccadilly Princess set a 2700m national fillies' mark when overcoming a tough early run to beat stablemate Golden Goddess 13 days ago and faces another potentially tricky early passage in the $20,000 Nevele R heat tonight.

While she looks to have a class edge, she will start from the outside of the five-filly field over 1609m, meaning it may not be simply a case of waltzing to the front and jogging to another win.

One rival keen for that not to happen is Josh Dickie, who drives Bettor Think Quick.

Dickie is fresh back from his richest career success in the Great Southern Star with Speeding Spur at Melton on Saturday and believes Bettor Think Quick can test Piccadilly Princess.

"Our filly was only fifth in the Oaks but she was massive after working early and I'd love to stay in front of the favourite if we can," said Dickie.

"But you have to respect her on what she did in the Oaks and they [All Stars] are awfully hard to beat in these type of races."

Piccadilly Princess's co-trainer Mark Purdon is so happy with how she has bounced back from her Oaks gutbuster he intends sending her to Melbourne for the Victoria Oaks next month.

"She has handled it all very well so she can go there for their heats and then the Oaks Final in mid April," said Purdon.

Also heading to Australia to chase an elusive classic is Chase The Dream, who is being aimed at the West Australian Derby on April 15.

That will mean a rare WA start for an All Stars Stable runner as Chase The Dream looks to get away from stablemate nemesis Lazarus. The WA trip means Chase The Dream will miss the NZ Derby at Addington on April 8, strengthening Lazarus's stranglehold on the race.

Meanwhile, former New Zealand Cup runner-up Franco Nelson is back where he belongs in the care of former trainers Robert and John Dunn.

The fairytale story of this season's Cup when he finished fourth in his first start for 10 months, Franco Nelson struggled to show his best after and has rejoined John Dunn's arm of the two-stable operation for beach work.

Having not won for so long, Franco Nelson finds himself off a luxury 20m handicap in a small feature-race field at Addington tomorrow night.

- NZ Herald

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