Kiwi filly Terra Sancta has taken lower level opportunities in Queensland to force her way into classic contention.
The New Zealand-bred daughter of Pierro was sent to the carnival in the hope she could win her way into Saturday's group one Queensland Oaks (2200m), which she has duly done.
Terra Sancta struck first-up over a mile at Ipswich and on Sunday she was again successful in the hands of Jim Byrne over 1800m at the Sunshine Coast.
"We were on a short run-up, but Valachi Downs were keen to get her in the Oaks," trainer Tony Pike said.
"It wasn't going to be straightforward but it's all worked out and she's in. We know she'll run the distance."
Pike said Byrne was keen to stick with Terra Sancta, bred and part-owned by Valachi principal Kevin Hickman.
"He wants to ride her. He was impressed with her first-up and [on Sunday] the second horse was laying in on her and she still got the job done. He was happy with her and she was strong through the line."
Meanwhile, Terra Sancta's stablemate Bostonian was scratched on Saturday but all is well with the Jimmy Choux three-year-old.
"From gate 17 around Doomben, it would have been a disaster and I didn't want him to have a really tough run first-up," Pike said.
"I'll nominate him for the Fred Best on Saturday and also the three-year-old race over 1200m at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday and then decide which one to run in.
"There's plenty of options here for him and we might get through to the Sunshine Coast Guineas."
Sacred Master is the third member of the team in Queensland and he will also step out this weekend.
"He'll kick off in the Lord Mayor's Cup at weight-for-age over a mile at Doomben on Saturday," Pike said.
Meanwhile, Kenny Rae's Queensland fortunes have turned around after a rocky start to the carnival.
The Ruakaka horseman's spirits were significantly boosted on Saturday at Doomben where his multiple stakes-winning filly Prom Queen finished runner-up in a three-year-old event over 1200m.
"It was a top effort and a bit of a stress reliever," said Rae, who trains with his wife Lisa and their daughter Krystal Williams. "She's come through the race really well.
"She'll go to the Gold Coast next on June 2. She'll either run in a 1000m race for three-year-olds or there's a fillies and mares' race over 1200m. I'll nominate her for both and then have a look at the fields and the weights and decide which is the best option."
Prom Queen's effort gave Rae something to smile about after dismal Australian debuts from stablemates Kaharau and Patsys Lass.
The former finished well back in the group three Chairman's Handicap (2200m) at Doomben and the latter failed to beat a runner home over 1400m at Caloundra.
"They were disappointing, a disastrous start really," Rae said. "Kaharau will run at the Gold Coast next and then we'll see what happens and decide what to do with him after that."
Patsys Lass, who transferred from co-owner and trainer Eamonn Green to Rae's care for the carnival, is also nominated for a two-year-old race over 1200m tomorrow.
- NZ Racing Desk