Connections of New Zealand-bred stakes performer True Excelsior are hoping a return to her homeland will result in the addition of a valuable Group One victory to her record.
The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained mare will line-up in the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham on Saturday and her Melbourne-based conditioners said they are pleased with her ahead of her first New Zealand assignment.
"She travelled over very well, she looks well and is coming along really nicely," Leon Corstens said.
"We lobbed here on Sunday morning and we are staying with Nigel Tiley at Pukekohe and she has settled in really well there. I have known Nigel for quite some time, I knew Nigel when he used to ride.
"She'll travel down to Wellington on Friday morning most likely."
The multiple stakes-placed daughter of Exceed and Excel ran third last-start in the Gr.3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year's Day and her connections are hoping she can improve on that run on Saturday.
"She has held her form really well and I am hoping she will be right up there with them in this race," Corstens said.
"Hopefully she handles the track well. I'm really pleased with her."
Bred in New Zealand by Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan, True Excelsior was offered at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2016 Premier Yearling Sale through Cambridge Stud's draft where she was knocked down to the $450,000 bid of Rosemont Stud.
The Victorian farm, who have a significant interest in dual Group One winner Tarzino who stands at Westbury Stud in New Zealand, elected to make the trip across the Tasman in the hope of a lucrative breakthrough win at Group One level with their mare ahead of a breeding career.
"Rosemont own the horse, Nigel Austin and Anthony Mithen, and they were very keen to get a bit of black-type behind her if we can," Corstens said. "That's the main reason why they brought her over, especially seeing as she was bought over here."
Corstens said he is not overly aware of his mare's competitors on Saturday, but believes True Excelsior will put in a good showing with Australian hoop Stephen Baster booked to continue his association with the mare.
"I don't know the New Zealand horses that well," Corstens said. "I know she will run out a strong 1200m and I think she will run a really nice race.
True Excelsior is the first horse Corstens has campaigned in New Zealand and he said her performance on Saturday will dictate her next target.
"It all depends with how she goes and what she does on Saturday. We'll just wait and see before we commit ourselves to anything," he said.
"I've been over to New Zealand quite a few times. I love New Zealand, it's a great place with good people.
"She is the first horse I have brought over to New Zealand, but hopefully she is not the last."
True Excelsior is rated a $21 chance in a market headed by triple Group One winner Melody Belle at $1.80.
- NZ Racing Desk