Trainer Roger James thinks he has found almost the perfect race for Rondinella at Caulfield today.

Almost perfect, because if the A$200,000 Ladies Day Vase was 200m longer then the Cambridge horseman would be going into the group three a lot more confident.

"That is the only slight concern I have, the 1600m," says James.

"She is probably ready for 2000m but I have kept her fresh because the weight scale of this race suits her so well.


"But if it was longer, even a couple of hundred metres longer, I'd be even more confident."

Rondinella meets fellow New Zealand mare Consensus in today's final race (7.45pm NZ time) and both were impressive in very different ways at The Valley last start.

Consensus was trapped three wide the entire trip but refused to give up when fifth while Rondinella was late getting clear in the same race and could have won with a clearer run, finishing second.

Both mares have tightened up since and James admits he could have easily stepped Rondinella up to the 2000m of today's Coongy Handicap but while the distance made sense the weights did not.

"Once the early topweight pulled out of the Coongy she would have ended up being the new topweight and carrying 58kgs," explains James.

"Whereas the mares race is set weight and penalties so because she has been placed in some major races this year but not won them she gets in on the minimum of 55kgs even though she has the highest rating.

"So it really is ideal for her at the weights. It just means I have had to keep her fresh to still be ready for a mile."

That could be even more important early today as the rail has gone out 10m for the middle day of Caulfield's huge week, which would mean staying handy is crucial.


"Nash (Rawiller) was really happy with how easily she was able to take up a spot at The Valley last start and that would be ideal again, to stay in the first six.

"If she can do that she will be really hard to beat because she is very well. So it is just a matter of whether we can get away with the shorter trip this week than what she is probably ready for."

Trainer Stephen McKee has a similar feeling about Consensus, who could be in the twilight of her career after being served by Iffraaj.

"She had no luck at The Valley and was beaten at the top of the straight but she just kept coming," said McKee.

"And she has tightened up since then and her coat is starting to come away so she is getting there."

Consensus has the ability to stay handy or even lead in her races but those tactics are complicated by her drawing barrier 11 today.

"I'd like to see her roll forward but the 1600m at Caulfield can be a bit tricky from wide out as they get to a rise a couple of hundred metres after the start and you don't want to be working too hard at that stage.

"So maybe we are looking at sitting handy rather than leading but, while she has a bit of weight, I think she can go close."

While Rondinella ($3 fixed odds) has been strong at the highest level on both sides of the Tasman, Consensus($19) is a proven group one winner and was so brave last start that the gap in the market looks too wide.

Mares' mile

• Northern mares Consensus and Rondinella give New Zealand a strong hand in one of the features at Caulfield today.

• Both were excellent at The Valley last start but the weights favour Rondinella today.

• The Caulfield Cup field will be finalised tonight with The Chosen One and Crown Prosecutor representing New Zealand.


Te Aroha's meeting scheduled for today has been abandoned.

The racecourse had received 124mm of rain in less than 24 hours and the decision was made to call off the meeting after a track inspection by Stipendiary Stewards and Club representatives yesterday.