NZ mare Rondinella in Vase at Caulfield

New Zealand trainer trainer Roger James has made the call to run Tancred Stakes placegetter Rondinella in a Group Three race against her own sex at Caulfield ahead of bigger assignments.

James, who trains in partnership with Robert Wellwood, has chosen Wednesday’s Ladies Day Vase (1600m) over the Coongy Cup (2000m) also at Group level.

“I have decided to have a throw at the stumps again at a mile,” James told NZ Racing Desk.

“She is beautifully placed in the Ladies’ Day Vase. She is the highest rated horse (107) in the race and she’s on the bottom weight (55kg) through the conditions of the race.

“The topweight came out in the Coongy and we were going to end up second topweight with 57.5kg. There is no doubt that 2000 metres is her best distance, but I have been mindful of trying to keep her very fresh.”

Rondinella heads into the race off the back of her last-start second to Princess Jenni in the Group Two Stocks Stakes at The Valley.

“I thought it was a really good run. Nash (Rawiller) was pretty adamant that he could have won it had he got clear half a dozen strides earlier,” James said.

“She is a class mare. I was happy with the way she handled her first experience of night racing and her first experience at Moonee Valley.”

Rawiller has retained the ride for Wednesday with Rondinella to carry 55.5kg to accommodate the heavyweight jockey.

“It comes at a cost because we have got to go up half a kilo,” James said. “I just thought she was so well placed in a race like that, that I was prepared to do that.

“I would think that the majority of racing from hereon in will be at weight-for-age anyway, so I was happy to do that on this occasion.”

If Rondinella goes well she could be on a path to clash with champion New Zealander Melody Belle in the Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington next month.

The trainer said the mare’s other options included the Mackinnon or the Matriarch over the Melbourne Cup carnival, both at 2000m.

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