Speed freak Kiwi mare Entriviere's bid for an invitation to Australia's newest glamour race looks back on track.
That is the impression champion ex-pat jockey James McDonald gave trainer Jamie Richards after Entriviere galloped in Sydney on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's A$200,000 Sheraco Stakes at Kembla Grange, Wollongong.
Entriviere heads the pre-draw market with Australian bookmakers for the Group 2 1200m mares' race, which has been moved from its programmed venue of Rosehill as Covid-19 continues to ravage Sydney.
For Entriviere, the Sheraco will signal a delayed start to her campaign aimed at the A$2 million The Invitation, the new Sydney race on October 23 for which most markets have her among the top three favourites.
As a two-time Group 3 winner, she is likely to get an invitation to that mares-only 1400m event, but her campaign suffered a small setback when she was scratched from her preferred season-opener 17 days ago after picking up a suspected stone bruise two days before the race.
She has since won her trial, last Friday, and McDonald was pleased with how she felt after galloping her on Tuesday.
"The move to Kembla won't affect her at all, and we are in the fortunate position that even if the track comes up with a bit of give in it, it won't bother her," said Richards.
"So we are looking forward to seeing her back out there and, all going well, she will race this week and then in three weeks on her way to hopefully being in The Invitation."
* The final field for the Sheraco and the rest of the Kembla card, including the Theo Marks and Run To The Roses, will be out on Wednesday.
Sword Of State, another Richards-trained star to have suffered a slight setback in Sydney, is back working well and will trial next week before making his Australia debut in two weeks.
Probabeel will have a jump out this Friday in Melbourne before racing there on Saturday week after her first-up win at Caulfield 10 days ago.
The Kiwi interest in Melbourne this week will centre around Aegon, who is rated an $8 fourth favourite pre-draw for Saturday's A$1 million Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in Melbourne.
He is likely to clash with Mounga and Tofane in the Makybe Diva.
* Richards rates several of his chances at Wednesday's Taupo meeting, which looks set to be run on a wetter-than-expected track after heavy rain on Tuesday saw the usually firmer surface deteriorate to a slow7.
The stable has last season's 1000 Guineas placegetter Cornflower Blue (R6, No1) and Challa in Wednesday's main race, the rating 74 sprint.
And Richards expects both horses to perform well.
"Cornflower Blue won't mind the rain they've had there, and while she is fresh up with a big weight, she is ready to go, while Challa has a lot of speed and gets a 4kg claim, which will help," Richards said.
"And we have a maiden having his first start in the race after that, Arceus [R7, No1], who has trialled well and is ready to go."