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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Friday, February 24 2017

La Bella Diosa's efforts on the racetrack demanded she come to Australia for the autumn but the reason she is here for Saturday's Surround Stakes has as much to do with things off the track in New Zealand.

La Diosa - Trish Dunell

Rangiora trainer Mandy Brown has arrived in Sydney looking to add Australian black type to La Bella Diosa's 1000 Guineas win at home in the spring. But it was the earthquake in the Canterbury area that led to her arriving so early.

"When you have that New Zealand group 1 you need to get the Australian form to back it up," Brown said. "We were always going to come over but being from the South Island it was easier to come over early than head to the North Island to race right now.

"The main highway north has been cut by the earthquake around Christchurch, so it adds hours to the trip. It was actually easier to fly to Sydney than stay in New Zealand.

"We know we are going to be up against the good fillies here but she is pretty good herself."

La Bella Diosa is the favourite for the Australian Oaks during The Championships after her storming success in the 1000 Guineas where she came from last. She became So You Think's first group 1 winner and has a strong female line as she is out of a Star Way mare and has Grosvenor in the preceding generation.

Jason Collett has been booked for the ride and liked what he saw of her on film from her four wins in six starts, and was smiling even more after riding her on Tuesday morning.

"She is a group 1 winner at home and has some quality about her," Collett said. "I thought she would be competitive at 1400 metres and get better as the races stretch out.

"But when you look at the race on Saturday – Global Glamour, Foxplay, Omei Sword and Spright – there is nowhere to hide. It is the best bunch of fillies for quite a while.

"I was not lacking in confidence and the gallop just confirmed what I thought of her. She has been winning coming around them in New Zealand and is still pretty raw so she is going to improve."

Collett didn't ride on Thursday because of a virus but will be right for Randwick.

Brown, who trains in partnership with husband Matt, has based herself at the John Sargent stable at Randwick and will be keeping a close eye on La Bella Diosa.

"She is a bit quirky and it is why she came to us because we train off our property outside Christchurch and we can give her some one-on-one care," she said.

"We had to start her preparation over here somewhere and this race fits into an Oaks preparation. She is going to get back and if she runs home and finishes in the first six, it would be a good effort against these sprinting fillies.

"She is going to get better when she steps up to a mile next time and the Oaks is our target."

Posted by: AT 01:19 am   |  Permalink   |  Email