A flagbearer for one of New Zealand's most successful syndications operation over the past couple of years might be on her last chance at Tauranga today.

Hamilton bloodstock agent and Challenge Syndicates manager Adrian Clark has flagged the prospect of Fascination Street facing retirement and sale should she not race up to expectations in the Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic for fillies and mares.

"We've been very disappointed with the last two runs, though both were on puggy tracks and both jockeys said she wasn't comfortable," Clark said.

"I'm not sure she's racing up to her best, despite the fact she won three starts ago. She's under scrutiny this weekend. If she doesn't perform, she'll be sold."


Prepared by Matamata trainers Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott, Elusive City mare Fascination Street has started 24 times for five wins, including last year's Rotorua Stakes, and 10 placings, three in stakes company.

"She's been a great mare for the syndicate. She's banked $150,000 and won five races, including a Listed win and other stakes placings," Clark said.

"She's very valuable off the track and I'm aware now is the premium time to sell a black-type-winning mare ahead of the upcoming breeding season. But that will depend on how she performs on Saturday.

"There are two things different this time. The blinkers are reapplied - and she won her Listed race in blinkers - and we're expecting looser going at Tauranga which should suit her. Her work on Tuesday was very good."

Michael Coleman rides Fascination Street in the Tauranga Classic, which has attracted a capacity field of 14 plus three scratchings, among them the like of Telegraph runner-up Designated Driver, Madonna Mia, North And South, Summer's Day, Aide Memoire, Silhouette Noir and Alamer.

A race earlier, Clark will welcome back Secret Spirit from injury when she tackles the Quadrant Pacific 1200.

"She chipped both front fetlocks in the 1000 Guineas and it's been a long process getting her back," Clark said.

"She had surgery and recovery time and it's been a long rehabilitation. This is a tough ask first-up on what will be a bottomless track because while she's fit, she's not seasoned.
"We just want to see that she's still got it and from what she's shown us in training, there's every reason to think she has.

"The build-up has been spot on. She hasn't had one setback in her leadup to this one."
Should Secret Spirit race well this weekend, the winner of four stakes races from nine starts will progress to feature races through the late winter and spring.