Ardmore trainer Nick Bishara could experience his biggest moment in racing at Flemington today but he won't be on course to witness it.
He shares in the ownership of talented three-year-old filly Verry Elleegant who will contest the A$1 million ($1.07m) Gr.1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m) and is rated a top prospect by bookmakers, sitting as a $5 third-favourite.
Formerly trained in New Zealand by Bishara, Verry Elleegant won two of her three races in her homeland before a majority share was sold to clients of leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir.
The daughter of Zed ran third in the Gr.2 Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington when on debut in Australia for Weir before going on to win the Gr.3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
She subsequently started as a $2.40 favourite for the Gr.2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday where she ran home late for fifth.
Bishara is on the ride of his life with the filly and he hopes the rain-affected track at Flemington will help that run continue today.
"I think she will appreciate a little cut in the ground," he said. "It was fairly firm at Flemington on Saturday according to all reports and she did feel it a fraction.
"I see Darren Weir has put a shadow roll on her to help keep her head down and hopefully the run on Saturday would have taken the edge off her."
With commitments at home Bishara is unable to make it to Flemington, but he said she will have plenty of Kiwi supporters barracking her down the Flemington straight today.
"Unfortunately I am not heading over. I had planned to go, but I've got one in the last at Avondale (yesterday) so being a mid-week race most of the girls who help me around the stable have got nine-to-five jobs. So I'm it — I'm the strapper, trainer and truck driver.
"Being a A$1million Group One, I'd love to be there. But that's the way it is, it has just got too tough unfortunately.
"The original owners still have 25 per cent of her and they are all over there and Rowena (Smyth, her jockey in New Zealand) is flying over on Thursday morning [today] after her commitments at Avondale."
Bishara is looking forward to having a runner in the Oaks, but said the immature filly has a lot of developing to do and he believes she will be an exciting prospect in the autumn.
"It's fabulous (to have a runner in the Oaks).
"She isn't the finished product and the improvement going forward to the autumn I think will be immense."
● Showy grey Stratocaster has conquered his own colour in New Zealand and now he's attempting to do the same in Australia when he tackles the greys in the Off The Track Subzero Handicap (1400m) at Flemington today.
The Emma-Lee and David Browne-trained gelding cruised to a three-quarter length victory in the Powerworx Greys (1400m) at New Plymouth last month.
And he has since topped that run off nicely with a trial at Te Aroha before travelling over to Melbourne last week.
Stratocaster will be ridden by top Australian hoop Craig Williams and Browne said it will be an exciting experience for the horse's connections to have a runner in the Melbourne Cup carnival.
- NZ Racing DesK