Rondinella fulfilling promise

Rondinella (Ryan Elliot) showing her class with an authoritative win over 2100m at Tauranga today.

Highly rated Cambridge mare Rondinella overcame a year littered with setbacks to record her third win when scoring attractively at Tauranga today.

Co-trainer Roger James has made no secret of the high regard in which he holds the daughter of Ocean Park, stating after her maiden win second-up at Tauranga 12 months ago that she could be the best horse he has had since the multiple Group One winner Silent Achiever.

But just as all eyes were on Rondinella she suffered a setback in her third start when tackling black type for the first time in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

She pulled up at the tail of the field suffering from cardiac arrhythmia, but then bounced back a month later when fourth to Dijon Bleu in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa.

Rondinella then suffered a serious injury and was off the scene until November 10, but, just as she had done after her previous setback, she immediately showed her class again when winning over 1400m at Te Rapa.

She then had no luck when held up at Ellerslie on December 1 before finishing on solidly for second behind well-rated all-the-way winner True Enough in the Thames Cup (1600m) at Te Aroha 15 days ago.

On the strength of that performance Rondinella was expected to win today’s Willie Vemeulen at Crockfords of Greerton Handicap (2100m) and she lived right up her favouritisim.

Ridden by Ryan Elliot, the four-year-old mare raced handy third or fourth one-off the fence and was travelling well as the field approached the home turn.

She was improved three-wide to challenge on the turn then strode clear at the 200m and was dominant over the final stages, scoring by two and a quarter lengths from Gold Spice, who shaded Artiste with the latter being a shade unlucky not to finish a placing closer to the winner after being held up early in the home straight.

‘’I publicly labelled this mare a year ago and we have had our little problems with her, but hopefully they are all behind us,” James said.

“In retrospect it hasn’t been a bad thing because she’s about four inches higher than she was this time last year. She’s a big mare and I think she has got it all ahead of her.”

James believes Rondinella is capable of measuring up to Group company, but he won’t be rushing her.

“I have no doubt she is up to a good Group race over this sort of trip at some stage of her career,” James said.

“But she is just reaching maturity and we’ll probably just step her another one through the grades before we make any rash decisions.”