Te Akau Racing trainer Jason Bridgman is taking a blinkered approach to Saturday’s G1 NZ 1000 Guineas at Riccarton.
All his attention has been focussed on NZ bred filly Spellbinder (O’Reilly) and Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago), the Matamata stable’s two in-form candidates for the New Zealand Bloodstock-sponsored classic.
“You can’t be worried about the competition and we just have to get our two there in the best possible shape that we can,” Bridgman said. “Spellbinder ran a top race in the Sarten Memorial and obviously Bounding was too slick, but our filly was finding the line well enough to suggest she will run the mile out strongly.
“She will be suited to a big galloping track like Riccarton and all she probably needs is a shower of rain. She’s ready to make the step up.”
Spellbinder was a stylish first-up maiden winner at Taupo before streeting her rivals by more than six lengths in the LR Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie. She then finished second in the G3 Sarten Memorial.
“She won the Soliloquy on a Slow 9 over 1400 metres and she ran the 1400m out strongly,” Bridgman said. “She’s got a big, beautiful action and Matt (Cameron) has chosen to ride her over Costa Viva.”
Costa Viva will be partnered by Leith Innes and she has also won two of her three starts, including the LR Ray Coupland Stakes, and ran Bounding (Lonhro) to three-quarters of a length when runner-up in the G3 Gold Trail Stakes.
“The biggest question mark will be whether she runs the mile – her pedigree suggests she should, but she’s quite speedy,” Bridgman added. “Having said that, she has run her races out strongly and I expect no different on Saturday.”
The $300,000 NZ 1000 Guineas is the third race in the NZ Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series. The winner will receive 12 points with second placing collecting 7 points and third earning 3.5 points.