Crunch time for Sofia Rosa

Sofia Rosa with Troy Harris, Stephen Marsh and Danielle Johnson soaking up the atmosphere after her Australian Oaks win.

Sofia Rosa with Troy Harris, Stephen Marsh and Danielle Johnson soaking up the atmosphere after her Australian Oaks win.

Make or break time is looming for Sofia Rosa in Australia.

Last season’s Gr.1 ATC Oaks winner has satisfied Stephen Marsh with both her recent runs in Melbourne, but the Cambridge trainer acknowledged she will need to go to another level in Sunday’s Gr.1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.

“She’s at the crossroads – she needs to be really hitting the line well to warrant running in the Caulfield Cup and her work suggests she will go well,” said Marsh.

“I’ve been happy with her, but it will be tough and the horse that gets in best is Rising Romance.

“We have to give her weight under the set weights and penalty conditions of the race, but that’s the way it works.”

Marsh confirmed that Danielle Johnson will retain the mount on Sofia Rosa and he said an inside gate would boost their chances.

“I’d love to see her get a good alley and then we can ride her a bit closer to the pace,” he said. “They are all very good horses and you can’t sit back last against them.”

Marsh will face a busy weekend with stable runners at Hastings on Saturday headed by his unbeaten Gr.2 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas contender Ugo Foscolo.

“I’ll be there and then fly to Melbourne the next morning – no rest for the wicked!” he said.

Currently at $6 in the Gr.1 Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas market, Ugo Foscolo successfully started his three-year-old season with an age group win on the opening day of the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

“We’ll monitor him after this race, but it was always the plan to give him this run and then go down to Christchurch,” said Marsh. “He might have a jump-out or a quiet trial somewhere.”

– NZ Racing Desk.