High-class mare Ladies First will take her first step on a path to the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in April when she steps out at Tauherenikau today.
Last season's Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner hasn't been seen on the track since a fast-finishing fifth in the Gr.3 Hotham Handicap (2500m) during the Melbourne spring carnival.
The Dylan Thomas six-year-old will tackle fillies and mares' company at weight-for-age in the Listed Property Brokers Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) today and trainer Allan Sharrock is confident she is ready to run a cheeky race.
"I don't think I've had her better, she is flying," Sharrock said.
"She won a jump-out the other day and is pretty fresh so I think she can go a good mile."
Sharrock and the mare's connections have decided to bypass an attempt to defend her Auckland Cup crown in favour of the Sydney Cup bid, a move that will see her have two more races in New Zealand before they head to Australia.
"If we could get a little bit of rain affected ground in Sydney, she would be very hard to beat over two miles," Sharrock said.
"If she wins or runs in the money in the Sydney Cup then she might have a go at the Melbourne Cup in the spring."
Sharrock is hoping he has found a ready-made replacement for Ladies First when she does finish her career on the track after he outlaid $60,000 for her half-brother during the Book 2 session at the National Yearling Sale at Karaka last week.
- NZ Racing Desk