Stern test for Rondinella

Rondinella will face her toughest test against a host of Group One winners on Saturday.

Cambridge mare Rondinella is taking a solid formline into Saturday’s Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie, but her connections believe she will have her work cut out in the star-studded field.

 The Ocean Park four-year-old has won three of her six starts this season and been placed in a further two, including a last-start second in the Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata last month.

“I thought it was a good run as she certainly didn’t get every favour, but she was very close on what wasn’t a suitable track for her,” co-trainer Robert Wellwood said.

There are a number of horses the Cambridge trainers didn’t foresee tackling Saturday’s contest, but they remain excited to have her competing in her first Group One assignment.

“She is taking a good formline in, but the race has come up very strong,” Wellwood said. “I think there are eight Group One winners and a further two Group One placegetters.

“There are probably two or three that we didn’t think were going to be there when we decided that was a race on our radar.

“But we are happy with her and we are going to get a good line on her from how she does perform on the weekend.”

Rondinella has drawn gate three and Wellwood said jockey Vinnie Colgan will likely settle her midfield from that barrier.

“She’s drawn three and that’s a nice barrier to find her feet and settle somewhere midfield and hopefully she can find the line as strong as anything else,” he said.

“It’s a very strong field, but we are happy with her and very excited to have her there.”

The Cambridge trainers will wait until after Saturday’s race before deciding on further autumn targets with Rondinella, however, Wellwood said a trip across the Tasman is a possibility for the mare.

“We’ll run Saturday and make plans from the result and how she goes there,” he said.

“She may head to Sydney for a race. There are a few different options around.”

– NZ Racing Desk