James Cummings, who co-trains with his legendary grandfather Bart Cummings, believes November’s Myer Classic 2014 will be the perfect finish to an ambitious spring for their soon-to-return mare Norzita.
While there are plenty of nice new season races for the daughter of Thorn Park this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, including the 2014 Cox Plate, it is the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on November 1 that Cummings thinks Norzita will be best suited.
A winner of four of her dozen starts to date the rising five-year-old has been plagued by injury for the best part of a year but looks on track for a big comeback.
The former 3YO Filly of the Year for her stellar efforts in 2012-13 including the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) win at Randwick two years ago, Norzita hasn’t raced since August last year.
A dual Group 1 champion having also taken out the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) in April last autumn, after which she ran third to Sacred Falls in the Doncaster, her latest run was a third in the Group 3 Show Country Quality (1200m) 11 months ago.
Given plenty of time to recover from a tendon injury that saw her miss last year’s spring and the autumn earlier this season, Norzita is showing all the signs of making a successful return to racing.
“Her leg looks good, she’s still a bit hairy, but she’s a pretty happy mare at the minute,” Cummings said this week.
“She’s feeling well about herself and she seems very enthusiastic to be back in work, which are good signs from our perspective.
“Hopefully she keeps going in such a positive way.”
Cummings said plans were to kick her off in Sydney before heading to Melbourne where she’ll be nominated for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“She’s probably going to have a run or two in Sydney before she goes to Melbourne,” he told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
A $15 fancy in the early Cox Plate odds, nominations for the weight-for-age classic closing next Tuesday, Norzita is likely to run first-up in the $175,000 Group 2 Tramway Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on September 6.
“She’s back doing a little bit more work and we might give her a trial or an exhibition gallop somewhere in the middle of August and we’re thinking, at this early stage, about resuming in a race like the Tramway,” Cummings confirmed.
She’ll also be nominated for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) back at Randwick three weeks out from the Cox Plate 2014.
It is the Myer Classic the following month on Victoria Derby Day, the opening of four Melbourne Cup Carnival meetings over the first week in November, that Cummings thinks she’ll be at her best for however.
“We’ll probably nominate for races like the Epsom and we’ll definitely nominate for the Cox Plate,” he said.
“But I think a race like the Myer is the sort of race she could be peaking in at the end of her campaign (that will) really suit her quite well I think.”
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