Quality New Zealand mare Zurella will make her second trip to Australia for a tilt at the Group 1 2013 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday week.
The four-year-old showed she can match it in Australia in the spring when winning the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes.
Zurella has proven highly successful in the early stages of her career, notching up five wins from 13 starts.
A daughter of Zabeel, she heads into the fillies and mares feature on the back of a third-place finish in the Group 1 Waikato Draught Sprint at Te Rapa last month.
A comfortable trial win on Tuesday was exactly what trainer Shaun Ritchie needed to see and he is confident ahead of the $600,000 race.
“Today’s trial will do her the world of good. She was solid on the bit,” Ritchie told New Zealand’s Waikato Times.
“There’s no dominant mare and of the ones that have been winning, the three-year-old Dear Demi, will be quite close to Zurella in the weights and even Norzita, who probably would have been the pre-post favourite, was beaten in Melbourne on Saturday too.”
The Coolmore Classic is one of the premier fillies and mares races of the autumn and always attracts a quality field.
Heading into the race in terrific form will be Steps In Time who has started her autumn campaign with back-to-back victories.
The John O’Shea-trained galloper won the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Classic first-up before taking out the Wiggle Stakes on the weekend.
Speaking after her Wiggle Stakes win, O’Shea said he thinks the daughter of Danehill Dancer is at the top of her game this preparation.
“She seems to have really strengthened up. She’s racing a good 10-15kg heaver this time and it’s refelected in her performances,” O’Shea said.
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