Kiwi Kate Eyes Crown Oaks 2012 Crown

Promising New Zealand filly Kate is looking at a trip across the ditch to tackle the 2012 Crown Oaks during this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival after her impressive first-up win back home last weekend.

The Vanessa & Wayne Hillis-trained St Reims three-year-old had three runs during the summer but failed to impress including her dead last finish behind Rollout The Carpet in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) in February.

Given a five month break to mature and come on the Don Skelton owned and bred Kate returned in July to finally break her maiden status, the youngster relishing her first look at a Slow track to put one and a half lengths on Top Star and win a 1200m two-year-olds’ maiden at Te Rapa.

Last Saturday she made her new season debut and was able to post another career win this time getting the better of the James McDonald-ridden Dorian Grey by just under half a length in the NZ Bloodstock Insurance Handicap (1200m) at Hastings.

Hillis is now considering a spring campaign in Australia for Kate who could shape up as a genuine hope for the $1 million Group 1 VRC Crown Oaks (2500m) at Melbourne’s famous Flemington Racecourse on Thursday November 8, 2012 – two days after the iconic Melbourne Cup lights up the track.

“We’ve always thought a bit of her,” Wayne Hillis, who bought Boulevardofdreams over to Australia in 2004 where they ran third to Wild Iris in the Australian Oaks in Sydney, said.

“We’ve got some big ambitions for her. It’s good to get this win to show we’re on the right track.

“The VRC Oaks is our aim and we’re on our way now.

“We’ve really liked her all along. I’ve ridden her myself and she’s a beautiful mover.

“Even as a two-year-old she looked three at that stage, she was very strong.”

Leading into the Crown Oaks Hillis said Kate would have one final run in New Zealand in the $50,000 Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) this Saturday.

He is then looking at a debut run down under for Kate in the $220,000 Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 6, followed by a Group 1 test in the $500,000 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 17.

In the latest 2012 Thousand Guineas odds at the Aussie bookies Kate is only rated as a $101 roughie.

Last year’s Crown Oaks meanwhile was easily won by super filly Mosheen who put a minimum nine lengths on her rivals.

The filly that ran a distant second however hailed from New Zealand with the now Sydney-based Dowager Queen who had also campaigned in Queensland during the winter.

Nominations for the 2012 Crown Oaks are due to be taken by Racing Victoria on September 25 with to publish the full list of early entries.

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