Gifted filly La Crique (NZ) (Vadamos) will be the mistress of her own destiny and her performance at Trentham on Saturday will determine her major three-year-old target.
She will bid to add to her tidy record in the Gr.3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) while talented stablemate Te Toki (NZ) (Tarzino) will be back on track at Ellerslie on Sunday after a no risk approach ruled him out of Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) contention.
La Crique has hardly put a foot wrong in her limited career with three wins from just five appearances and this weekend will tell trainers Katrina and Simon Alexander which classic will become their autumn focus.
They are confident the daughter of Vadamos can cope with an extended trip, hence her nominations for the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) and the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
La Crique accounted for the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner The Perfect Pink last time out at Ellerslie over 1500m and the manner in which she finished off that race has given connections further encouragement for her future distance prospects.
“She was hard to pull up at the end of her race. I believe if she was sitting on an even tempo she would get over a bit of ground and that’s why we’re happy to press on to either a Derby or an Oaks,” said Katrina Alexander, who trains the filly with husband Simon.
“This will be her first trip away this weekend and will give us options if she travels well. I do like the time frame toward the Derby and I don’t think she needs to stay away from the males.
“If she doesn’t handle the trip then there’s no point going back for the Oaks and there’s also a possibility she could go to Australia. This weekend is going to tell us a lot about her.
“I think she’s in top order and we’re very happy with her. She seems to really enjoy her racing and her work so that’s a big plus and she is a very good eater as well so that makes it a lot easier.”
La Crique is out of the Dubai Destination mare Destiny Cove, who won five races up to 2400m.
“We trained her and she was quite similar, not as brilliant as this horse and she loved getting over ground and I see a lot of the mother’s traits in this filly,” Alexander said.
“I see her as a very versatile horse and she can nudge up a bit, but she can put herself to sleep as well. That gives the jockey options, which is a very good trait.
“She is quite a quirky horse at home and all about getting things done, but she is very settled on race day and is a great anticipator of what is going to happen.
“She gives a 110 percent in her work and likes her routine, she’s a very alert filly and when we put her on the truck to go to the races she is the ultimate professional.”
Meanwhile, stablemate Te Toki is ready to head back into action in the Franklin Long Roofing 3YO (1600m) at Ellerslie on Sunday after a setback ruled him out of the Karaka Million.
“He had a little mishap and clinically he was all good after scans, but he did have a bit of filling in a fetlock and we didn’t want to take any risks with him,” Alexander said.
“He galloped brilliantly this (Thursday) morning and I’m very happy with him. It was unfortunate, but we decided not to be greedy and he’s too good to be taking any risks with.
“We know he is going to improve with time and the Karaka Million didn’t need to be his grand finale even though there was a lot of money on offer, there are opportunities ahead for him.”