Class mare Consensus will have her first run of the new season in Saturday's Gr.2 US Navy Flag Foxbridge Plate (1200m) as she kicks off a campaign that could see her contest the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October.
The 8-year-old Postponed mare has made steady progress since returning to trainer Stephen McKee's Ardmore stable following her fourth-place finish in the Gr.2 Hollindale Cup (1800m) at the Gold Coast in May.
The winner of 11 races, including the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) has pleased McKee in the build-up to the first start of a campaign that will likely be her last before heading to the broodmare paddock.
"She's done really well since we've had her back and is coming along nicely," McKee said.
"She's an 8-year-old now but she looks fantastic and I'm pleased with her as we get ready for the Foxbridge at Te Rapa this coming Saturday."
McKee used an exhibition gallop between races at Ruakākā on Sunday to get a guide to the mare's fitness levels before tackling the Te Rapa feature, which is shaping up to be a star-studded line-up.
"She had a good hit-out at Ruakākā today, which should bring her on nicely for Te Rapa," he said.
"We're not expecting much from that first start as she doesn't tend to go too well there and it is looking like it will be a pretty hot field, with the likes of Melody Belle, Te Akau Shark, Endless Drama and Helena Baby all likely to be present.
"As long as she comes through the race well, we can then concentrate on the next task which will be to have her served by Iffraaj.
"There are no firm plans for her campaign as it will all depend on how the date with Iffraaj goes.
"She won't be going to Hastings for the spring carnival races but we won't be heading over to Melbourne before she has tested positively in foal."
Having won the Gr.2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley during her last campaign, McKee is confident Consensus will have plenty in her favour once her Melbourne campaign gets underway.
"We know she can be competitive over there so we just have to work out the best way to get to the big target, the Cox Plate," he said.
"I haven't really looked beyond the Foxbridge as so much depends on how things go when she gets served but if that goes to plan, we will be heading over later on in September.
"There are some nice mares' races that will suit her build-up so there are plenty of options for her when we do get there."
– NZ Racing Desk