Mum-to-be Consensus will take the next step towards a Victorian campaign when she tackles the Patron's Trophy (1200m) at Ruakaka today.
Served by Haunui Farm stallion Iffraaj in the leadup to today's open sprint, Consensus is likely to find her second 1200m race this preparation too short, according to trainer Stephen McKee, but it is the next stepping stone to a campaign in Australia, where she holds an entry for the A$5 million Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
"It's going to be four weeks since her first-up run but she's really well," McKee said.
"This is another fitness-building race for her and then she'll go to Melbourne for her next one, probably in the Stocks Stakes (Gr.2, 1600m) at Moonee Valley on the 27th. We'll start off there and see how her form goes. She'll stay on right through if her form is good enough."
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A winner of the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie in 2016, Consensus has been Group One-placed every year since and won the Gr.2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley in March.
"She's nominated for the Cox Plate but there's plenty of good races over there for her. But again that's all dependent on her first run or two and how's she's holding her form," McKee said.
TAB bookmakers opened Consensus at $11 for the Patron's Trophy though McKee said he would be surprised if she was able to win, even back in grade from a 10th-place finish in last month's Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa.
"She's really bright and she hasn't missed a beat even with visiting the stallion. She was one day at Haunui Farm and straight back," McKee said.
"But she's got 61 kilos on Saturday and I don't think she's a winning prospect over 1200. She wasn't too bad in the Foxbridge. She battled to the line quite nicely and I'd expect much the same sort of run this weekend."
McKee will saddle just one other runner at Ruakaka with Magic Of The Sun returning to the venue of his win two starts back in the Whangarei Love It Here 1400, the Auckland trainer suggesting Tappy's One was an unlikely starter in the Gr.3 Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m).
- NZ Racing Desk