Princess Rihanna will anchor a three-pronged attack on today's Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) for trainers Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott, whose Wexford Stables has a second-to-none record in the race.
Success for any of the trio would make it six wins in the race for Wexford Stables, which produced Ma Chiquita to win in 1985, Morar in 1990 and Tristalove in 1993 under Dave and Paul O'Sullivan, then Satinka in 2007 and Gold Rush last year in the care of O'Sullivan and Scott.
O'Sullivan, who won the race as a jockey on Ma Chiquita, Morar, Tristalove, Phillipa Rush (1989) and Flying Babe (2001) and as a part-owner of Satinka and Gold Rush, had no hesitation in declaring Ma Chiquita as his favourite winner of the two-year-old fillies feature.
"Definitely Ma Chiquita. But that's going back a few years now to the 80s. She was a pretty special filly," he said.
Ma Chiquita maintained an unbeaten record when she won the Matamata Breeders' Stakes at her third start, the first of six stakes wins which included the group one George Main Stakes in Sydney in 1986.
Princess Rihanna, Miss Foxy Gal and Nothin' On Me have much to do to equal Ma Chiquita's feats but O'Sullivan has a high opinion of Showcasing filly Princess Rihanna, a debut winner at Otaki before fourth placings in the Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and $1 million Karaka Million (1200m), both at Ellerslie.
"Princess Rihanna is our best chance. It was certainly a good run in the Karaka Million," O'Sullivan said.
"She got held up for a few strides but I don't know whether that cost her running third or not. We've set her for this race. It's her grand final."
O'Sullivan, who was in Melbourne inspecting yearlings, described his other pair as "unknowns at this level" but he was optimistic gear changes could spark both. Blinkers go on Miss Foxy Gal, while Nothin' On Me will race in side winkers.
Among eight entries for the meeting, O'Sullivan and Scott will produce Summer Passage in the Reid & Harrison Slipper (1200m) and Gentil Tonton in the Kaimai Stakes (2000m).
- NZ Racing Desk