Waikato mare warm favourite for Riccarton feature

Waikato raider Contessa Vanessa, who drops significantly in class, has been installed a short-priced favourite for tomorrow's South Island Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes at Riccarton.

The 4yr-old is one of several strong winning chances the Tuhikaramea training partnership of Graeme, Debbie and Bailey Rogerson have at the meeting.

Contessa Vanessa was rated the $1.90 favourite for the 1600m group 3 feature for fillies and mares when TAB markets opened.

The race should not pose too many concerns for her as she has contested the Windsor Park Plate, Livamol Classic and the Thorndon Mile, all group 1 races, this season.

Contessa Vanessa was slightly unlucky in her last start in premier company on New Zealand Derby day at Ellerslie. She raced in restricted room early in the run home, then hit the line strongly for third behind Sandrine.

"She's been going really good races," Graeme Rogerson said

"It was a terrific run last start behind the stablemate [Sandrine]...

"She is certainly up there with the best horses. Danzdanzdance only beat her a half-head in spring...

"I am very happy with her. She has run in all the big races and Chris Johnson rides her.

"He has won a few on her and gets on very well with her."

Residential, trained by John and Karen Parsons at Balcairn, heads the South Island hopes.

She beat a strong field in open company over 1600m in her last start at Wingatui on March 2.

Flying Sardine, seventh in that race, also produced a good effort.

The Rogerson stable has its star sprinter, Gift Of Power, in tomorrow's open 1200m handicap.

The speedster beat a small field at her last start in the Ashurst-Pohangia Cup at Awapuni early last month.

Gift Of Power, who ran sixth, chased Enzo's Lad home in the Telegraph at her previous start.

"I expect her to run very well," Rogerson said.

Disturbance has been brilliant in winning her two starts back from an Australian campaign and looks to be Gift Of Power's main rival.

Rogerson said he expected a strong run from Nuclear Fusion in race 9, a rating 72 race over 1400m.


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