Melbourne’s Australian Cup 2017 in March could be on the cards for New Zealand-trained mare Consensus after her Group 1 win at home on Boxing Day.
Trainer Stephen McKee is hoping his impressive daughter of Postponed continues to rise to the occasion and earns a trip across the Tasman for the elite level Australian races in Sydney and Melbourne over the autumn.
The five-year-old took her career earnings up to $338,550 with a seventh career success on December 26 at Ellerslie.
Consensus stepped up to Group 1 company for the first time since March for the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) and relished the distance in the weight-for-age showdown.
Ridden by her regular jockey Alysha Collett, the mare enjoyed a long neck victory over the Donna Longan-trained Volkstok’n’barrell to hand her 22-year-old hoop a maiden Group 1 winning ride.
Volkstok’n’barrell has contested nine Group 1 races down under including his 2015 Rosehill Guineas win, third to Mongolian Khan in that year’s ATC Derby and most recently his fourth to Our Ivanhowe in this winter’s Doomben Cup in Brisbane.
Jumping a $42 shot in betting, Consensus scored a massive boilover in the Zabeel Classic after improving from sixth on the home turn to sweep home late with a big late burst to beat home the short-priced favourite.
“It’s always great for a mare to get a Group 1,” McKee told the NZ Racing Desk post-win.
Now McKee has his sights set on the Australian autumn riches.
“We’ve got another nice race coming up in early February [in New Zealand], another 2000m race,” he told Racing Ahead this week.
“She’ll run in that first.
“We’ll see what her form is like at the time, whether or not we consider some of the options in Australia.
“Her range is probably 1500m to 2000m, with 2000m being her pet distance at the top level.
“She probably has to come up a notch yet against the better horses.
“If you’re looking at an Australian Cup or a Ranvet [Stakes] around the 2000m mark, she’d certainly need to come up a level.
“But if her form warranted it, we’d definitely look at sending her over at some stage.”
The $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) takes place at Flemington Racecourse on March 11 and the last mare to beat home the boys in the classic was the mighty Makybe Diva (2005).
Held the following Saturday on March 18 at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens, the $700,000 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) has seen four mares salute since 2003 most recently Silent Achiever (2014).