Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
After scoring her first and to date only stakes success in the sunshine state last Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival Tony Noonan’s Mornington-based mare Varenna Miss returns to Queensland this Saturday to try her luck against a crack field in the BTC Cup 2012 at Doomben.
The now five-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice won her Brisbane debut just under 12 months ago in a Doomben 1200m handicap last May before backing up to beat home Phelan Ready and win the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm.
She rounded out a stella winter with a credible fifth place finish behind Yosei in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m), a sound effort considering she was checked near the 1000m mark and blocked for a run but still managed to come within two and a half lengths of the winner.
Varenna Miss failed to bring her Brisbane form to Melbourne during the spring and had a disappointing season that finished with a 13th to Hurtle Myrtle in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m).
After a five and a half month break Noonan bought her back on April 14 at Randwick, Varenna Miss catching the eye when crossing a length and a half away fifth to Master Of Design in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) after getting badly caught in traffic.
“You could argue she should have won for sure,” Noonan said of Varenna Miss’s run in the TJ Smith Stakes.
She heads to Doomben second-up on Saturday for the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m), and while she faces some classy rivals Noonan is hoping she will be there in the finish especially with the likes of Black Caviar, Hay List and Rain Affair absent.
“It’s good for us that those topliners aren’t about,” Noonan said.
“She’s a month between runs, but had a good gallop at Doomben last Saturday and should be in the thick of things on Saturday.”
Noonan also credited the warmer weather in Brisbane compared to down south this time of year for Varenna Miss’s good effort last winter, hoping it will be the same story this season.
“We’ve had a few issues with her back, and the warm weather up there really suits her,” he said.
“It’s a time of year that is perfect for her.”
The now Paul Messara-trained Ortensia, winner of the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) in Dubai on March 31, was Noonan’s original stable ace.
Ortensia campaigned in Brisbane in 2009 to win the Glenlogan Park Stakes and QTC Cup before a good third to Black Piranha in that year’s Stradbroke.
She also ran during the 2010 Brisbane Winter Carnival but failed to finish better than fifth in her three runs.
Without Ortensia in the mix this year Noonan’s sole focus is on Varenna Miss who he rates right up there with her former stablemate and dual Winterbottom Stakes winner.
“It’s hard enough to get one good horse, let alone two but there was never really much between them,” he said.
“Ortensia probably had, or still has, a better turn of foot.
“Varenna Miss is more of a momentum mare.
“She’s a big, cumbersome mare, and can’t pick up and recover as well as Ortensia did if you break her momentum.”
Top fancy in the BTC Cup odds is the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering, third behind superstars Black Caviar and Hay List in the race last year.
A multiple Group 1 performer Buffering is out to break his elite level duck and after a seven length romp at Eagle Farm last week he looks right on track to do just that.
Reigning Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded is second fancy in the BTC Cup betting markets, Peter Snowden’s soon-to-be-retired mare looking for a form reversal after two substandard runs during the autumn.
Other notable hopes include Buffering’s Oakleigh Plate winning stablemate Woorim and Tony Gollan’s Group 1 The Galaxy winner Temple Of Boom.
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