Trainers Keith and Brendan Hawtin reckon their underrated mare Miss Pelear is “Group 1 quality” and she will attempt to live up to that rating in the Thorndon Mile at Trentham at Saturday.
Miss Pelear (4m Mr. Nancho – Tori Belle by Vettori) dented several reputations with a superb win over a handy field in the G2 Rich Hill Mile on New Year’s Day at Ellerslie and her subsequent work has seen her aimed at the prestigious Mile.
“The Thorndon wasn’t on her original schedule,” Keith Hawtin said. “We had planned to give her a break after the Rich Hill Mile but she did so well that we decided to have a crack as there aren’t many Group 1 races around and she is at the top of her game at present.
“In the last twelve months she has improved out of sight and we believe she is definitely capable of snagging a Group 1 win at some stage in her career. It’s not a matter of if but when with her in that regard.”
The Mr Nancho mare struck problems around this time last year which necessitated a lightning trip to the Matamata vet hospital. “It was touch and go for a while,” Hawtin explained. “What was first suspected as colic turned out to be a condition whereby she suffered from a build-up of gas in her gut which can be successfully treated with a powdered mixture that we use regularly now.”
Miss Pelear (NZ) has really turned the corner since that scare with four wins from her last nine starts. “Her run for second behind Lady Kipling at Pukekohe in the Breeders’ Stakes was a beauty and she beat home horses the calibre of Final Touch, Guiseppina and Fleur de Lune that day,” Hawtin added. “That gave us the confidence to aim high.”
After the Thorndon Mile, Miss Pelear will head for a break before returning for a tilt at the Westbury Classic and New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha in April.
Miss Pelear was offered by Beatson Stables at the 2010 NZB 2YO Sale but didn’t reach a $60,000 reserve. Her sire Mr. Nancho (Arg) is a son of Southern Halo and stands at Cambridge based Linwood Park after initially retiring to Stoney Bridge in Matamata.
Miss Pelear’s dam Tori Belle is a half-sister to The Hombre (Lucky Owners). He won the G3 Rough Habit Plate at Doomben in 2010 and was also an impressive three-length winner of the LR Newmarket Hcp at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
Trentham’s iconic mile has drawn another strong field this year with several favoured runners backing up from the Telegraph Handicap on the first day of the carnival, including Nashville (NZ) and Jetset Lad (NZ).
Full Of Spirit and Viadana (NZ) are fresh to the meeting and will make their presence felt as will Pero (NZ), who finished well in cramped quarters for an unlucky seventh behind Miss Pelear at Ellerslie.