Anabandana on target for Aussie

Exciting Cambridge filly Anabandana was the star of the show at Rotorua today when completing her New Zealand preparation for a Melbourne campaign with an exhibition gallop between races.

Anabandana, last season’s champion two-year-old, worked alone in the hands of Mark Hills and increased speed over the last 600 metres, which she ran in 38.04.

“She really quickened up the last bit and felt good,” said Hills. “She didn’t blow much at all. She’s very well.”

Trainer Don Sellwood was very pleased with the hitout. “That’s just what she wanted,” he said after the gallop. “I brought her and Pussy O’Reilly over here for an exhibition gallop before (the Gold Trail Stakes) Hastings and it worked out well. Hopefully it works out well again.”

Anabandana hasn’t raced since finishing a game second to Rock ‘N’ Pop in the Group I Soothy’s 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 5. She was to run a week later in the Group I NZ Bloodstock 1000 Guineas, but a wet track saw her withdrawal and instead she was given a spell.

“Though she hasn’t raced for a while she hasn’t lost much fitness,” said Sellwood. “That was her second runalong since she’s been back in work.”

Anabandana is due to be flown to Melbourne tomorrow night and will make her Australian at Caulfield on February 11 in the Listed $A100,000 Kevin Hayes Stakes,  a three-year-old fillies event over 1200 metres.

“She’s going over to Flemington and will be stabled there,” said Sellwood. “She’s got a month before her first run and I’ll probably take her over to Caulfield for a gallop before then.”

If Anabandana measures up in that Australian debut she will run again at Caulfield in the Group III $A180,000 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) and

“After that she will go for a Group I if  she shows she is up to it,” said Sellwood, who revealed top Australian jockey Craig Williams has been engaged to ride the high-class filly.