Peter Hollinshead’s classy Kiwi mare Pondarosa Miss is set to campaign at home in New Zealand early this prep before heading down under to target the Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup 2015 double.
A winner of five of her 17 career starts to date the rising five-year-old daughter of High Chaparral is yet to race in Australia, but Hollinshead is hoping she can be competitive in some of the country’s premier events later in the year.
Third in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie last December, Pondarosa Miss also finished third at Ellerslie in mid-February behind another Melbourne Cup-bound New Zealand mare Rock Diva in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Tony Pike’s Auckland Cup winner Rock Diva is set to race exclusively in Australia in the lead-up to the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) lighting up Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 3.
Pondarosa Miss meanwhile will run in a few lead-up races in NZ before travelling across the Tasman where her first major target will be the ‘race where legends are made’ – the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 24.
Early Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au feature Hong Kong galloper Able Friend and the John O’Shea-trained Ranvet Stakes champ last time out Contributer at the top of the markets as equal $9 favourites.
Hollinshead’s mare is yet to be added to the markets, but if she performs well in her trio of New Zealand races before heading to Melbourne she’s sure to feature in betting for both the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
First-up on August 29 she’s set to run in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) followed by the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 19 and the Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 3.
“It’s one stepping stone after the other and the step up in distances will be ideal for her,” part-owner and son of the trainer, Darryl Hollinshead told the NZ Racing Desk.
“At this stage our plan is to leave her here until after the Livamol and then have one run in Australia before the Melbourne Cup.
“We’ll be nominating her for both the Moonee Valley Cup and the Cox Plate and see how she’s going closer to the time.
“She’ll let us know and obviously she has to come up here first to warrant going over to Melbourne.”
To check out the full all-in markets for the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup before nominations close early next month, head to Ladbrokes.com.au and sign-up quoting the code BETBONUS to also have your first deposit matched 100% up to $500!