Fri, 29 March 2019

Rondinella Primed for Sydney Challenge


- from the NZ Racing Desk

Haunui Farm homebred, Rondinella is in "faultless condition" ahead of Saturday's Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill according to Roger James, who trains in partnership with Robert Wellwood.

The Cambridge trainer has accompanied Rondinella to Sydney and is rapt with the way she has travelled to Australia and settled in at her Randwick stabling.

A last-start third in the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie behind Melody Belle and Danzdanzdance, Rondinella gained a start in the Tancred Stakes from the ballot after Auvray was withdrawn on Wednesday.

James had accepted with the Ocean Park four-year-old for the Gr.3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) but it was always his intention to tackle the Group One feature if she made the field.

"I'm comfortable she'll get the mile and a half. It's a big step up but I've always held her in high regard and she's had a lovely preparation,” James said. “She's in faultless condition."

TAB bookmakers have Rondinella as a $14 fourth favourite behind last Saturday's Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) winner Avilius at $1.60.

In the Ranvet, Avilius beat home third-placed Danzdanzdance, who finished second ahead of Rondinella in the New Zealand Stakes after the James and Robert Wellwood-trained mare lost crucial ground in a home-turn skirmish.

"It's fair to say we didn't get the rub of the green last start. She featured twice in the stipes report and by the time she got clear in the straight, the other two were already off and gone. But to her credit, she's stuck to her task well and ran the quickest last 200m of the race."

James said rider Sam Clipperton will likely tuck back from barrier 10 in Saturday's Tancred Stakes and regarded the track conditions as the biggest obstacle to success for Rondinella.

"If there was one thing I could change, it would be the weather," James said.

A member of the Haunui foundation family, should Rondinella finish in the first three tomorrow, she'll become the 33rd stakes performer in Australia out of the family.