With two promising trials and potential black-type targets on her radar, two-year-old filly Sacred Dream is set to kick off her racing career in tomorrow's 2YO race at Hastings.
The Sacred Falls filly is a half-sister to Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) winner Sea Lord and Group 3 placegetter Dreamcrafter, and closely related to Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) placegetter Vigor and multiple black-type winners Joey Massino and Vincent Mangano.
Trained by Andrew Forsman at Cambridge, Sacred Dream warmed up for tomorrow's debut with two trials last month, finishing second on her home track on June 7 before a third at Te Rapa three weeks later.
Sacred Dream will be ridden by Lisa Allpress and jumps from gate three in a nine-horse field.
"She's trialled really well," Forsman said. "She's still quite an immature filly, and she's going to continue to get better and better as she matures. But she's shown us enough in her trials and her work to warrant taking her to the races on Saturday and seeing how she goes."
Forsman sees Sacred Dream as a stakes contender, and possibly even as soon as the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Ōtaki on July 30.
"Being a filly, we'd certainly like to give her the chance to go for some black-type, so the Ryder Stakes would have to be something to consider if she performs well this week," Forsman said. "But the hard thing about that is it'll be two decent trips away from home, and so early in her career. It's a shame we didn't have other options on turf that were a bit closer than this.
"It's going to be a big enough ask going all the way to Hastings and back for her debut on Saturday — that'll be quite a big day for her. Having to then back up and do it all again for a Listed race at Ōtaki a couple of weeks later might be a little bit too much, too soon. But we'll see how she handles everything and then make a plan."
Forsman also has a couple of interesting runners entered at Te Rapa, including the New Zealand debut of Express Princess in the Group 1 Sprint (1200m).
Bred by Windsor Park Stud's operations manager Rachel Murray, Shamexpress' daughter has done all of her racing to date in Australia. Her 15 starts have produced five wins and four placings, with two impressive wins at Doomben in February and April of last year.
The five-year-old mare has been off the scene since then, but has made pleasing progress in her first preparation in Forsman's care. She is now back in the ownership of Murray in partnership with Rodney Schick.
"She was on lease to a group of owners over in Aussie, and she had a good record over there," Forsman said. "Then she had a little bit of a setback and ended up coming back.
"She has had a good bit of time off and is on the way back up again now. She's progressing well but she'll definitely improve for this first-up run.
"I've been pretty impressed with her. She's a lovely mare — a big, strong girl. I have no doubt that she'll make the grade in New Zealand in time.
"The only question I have is how wet she really wants the ground to be. Her record suggests that she performs well on heavy tracks, but if you look at the times she clocked in winning those races, it's nothing like what we get in winter over here.
"So that's one of the reasons for running her on Saturday. Hopefully we'll get an idea of how she handles that sort of track, and then we can take it from there."
- NZ Racing Desk