Eleonora adds to Aussie success

Mime (Michael Coleman) winning the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa. The pair will combine in the Windsor Park Plate at Hastings today.

Mime, pictured winning the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa, will be looking to recapture her best form in the Windsor Park Plate at Hastings today.

Fresh from further success in Australia, Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman switch their attention to a strong contingent at Hastings today, including a two-pronged bid on Group One glory.

Six days after producing Saracino to make a successful Australian debut in the Gr. 2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington, Baker and Forsman were again on the winners list in Victoria when Eleonora cleared maiden ranks in her first start across the Tasman.

Ridden by Damien Oliver (who also rode Saracino), Eleonora was sent out favourite and she easily accounted for her rivals over 1300 metres on the synthetic track at Geelong yesterday, winning by a length and a quarter.

“For her to come out and win today is a good sign,” said Oliver.

A daughter of Makfi and Sopra Tutto, Eleonora is a granddaughter of the former champion Australasian stayer Ethereal, who was unbeaten from 2400 metres with her Group One wins including the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double and the Queensland Oaks.

Eleonora is on another Oaks trail, being set for the Gr. 1 A$1 million VRC Oaks at Flemington on November 3 and as a result of her win yesterday she has been installed the third favourite for the feature.

Eleonora was placed in all four of her New Zealand outings, including a second in last season’s Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie.

Eleonora is raced by Dame Lowell Goddard and Lib Petagna and the latter also bred and races Saracino under his JML Bloodstock banner.

Buoyed by Eleonora’s success, Baker and Forsman are hoping to add to their success at Hastings today where their representatives include Mime and Our Vergara in the Gr. 1 A$200,000 Windsor Park Stakes and Honey Rider in the Gr. 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes.

Mime, a Group Two and Three winner and fourth in last March’s Gr. 1 Wellfield NZ Oaks, had no luck when eighth when resuming in the Makfi Challenge Stakes, while Our Vergara was one placing closer to the winner, Kawi, in the same event.

“Mime was very unlucky in the Makfi,” said Baker. “She never got a go up the straight and was full of running.

“I’m very happy with her but she’s more of a 2000-metre horse and this is another step to getting her fit to run over ground.”

Baker is also hoping for better fortune with Our Vergara, who won eight races in Australia before joining his stable.

“She’s certainly improved,” said Baker. “She had her chance in the Makfi and ran a handy seventh. I think the mile will suit her better.

“They’ll both be flat to beat Kawi, but let’s hope they run good races.”

Honey Rider will resume in the Gold Trail Stakes after a win and a second in her two juvenile starts last season. The runner-up effort was behind Volpe Veloce, a rival again today, in the Listed John Turkington Forestry Castletown Stakes last June.

The Pins filly has had two trials to ready her for today’s assignment and won the second one, at Cambridge last week.

“We think she’s a promising filly and will probably be better when she gets up over 1400 and 1600 metres, but we’ve got her ready to go if she’s good enough,” said Baker.

Baker and Forsman’s other Hastings starters are Francaletta, who created a big impression when winning her debut, Wellington Cup winner Maygrove and Get That Jive, one of the better three-year-olds last season.

“Francaletta may be in need of 1400 or 1600 now but she jumps the gates well and is a chance,” said Baker.

“Maygrove won at the trials the other day and is running 2000 first-up which is a bit tough but we’ve got to get him underway and get him fit.

“Get That Jive was plagued by foot trouble last year and that’s why he’s had only seven starts in his career. He has trialled well and he’s a fit horse.”