Mornington trainer Tony Noonan is looking for his day in the sun with Varenna Miss who is ready to peak over the Winter months.
Noonan is expecting Varenna Miss to thrive in the Queensland sun after winning twice over the Winter Carnival last year.
The Redoute’s Choice mare won in restricted class at Doomben before taking out the Group 2 $175,000 Albion Jeep QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm for Dwyane Dunn.
She then went onto finish fifth to Yosei in the Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm to wind up winter campaign.
Noonan is also looking forward to not lining up against the sprint King and Queen in Hay List and Black Caviar who will both be absentees from the Winter Carnival.
Peter Moody is sending Black Caviar to England to test her against the world’s best while Hay List is on the sidelines again through injury.
“It’s good for us that those topliners aren’t about,” Noonan said.
“We’ve had a few issues with her back, and the warm weather up there really suits her. It’s a time of year that is perfect for her,” he said.
Noonan will get a good guide for the rest of the Winter when Varenna Miss lines up in the Group 1 $400,000 Smirnoff BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben and is confident of her running well after an unlucky fifth to Master Of Design in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 14.
The five year old was extremely unlucky at Randwick according to Noonan, pointing out that Varenna Miss ran into a traffic jam in the small field of six.
“You could argue she should have won for sure,” Noonan said.
“She’s a month between runs, but had a good gallop at Doomben last Saturday and should be in the thick of things on Saturday.”
Noonan rates Varenna Miss up alongside Group 1 winning mare Ortensia who he trained in her early days before being transferred to Paul Messara.
Ortensia ran a terrific race for Noonan when third to Black Piranha in the 2009 Group 1 $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm after winning the Group 2 $150,000 QTC Cup (1300m) at the same track the start before.
“It’s hard enough to get one good horse, let alone two. But there was never really much between them,” he said.
“Ortensia probably had, or still has, a better turn of foot. Varenna Miss is more of a momentum mare. She’s a big, cumbersome mare, and can’t pick up and recover as well as Ortensia did if you break her momentum.”
Varenna Miss will be taking on the Robert Heathcote trained Buffering who is poised to win his first Group 1 after three placings at the top level in Melbourne over the Autumn Carnival.
The front running Buffering set the pace when third to Foxwedge in the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23 after getting nailed on the line by Hay List in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10.
The start before the Mossman four year old year was beaten just under four lengths by super mare Black Caviar when third in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 18.
Buffering topped off his preparation for the BTC Cup with a seven lengths win over Scenic Blast in the rescheduled $100,000 WFA Coca-Cola Amatil at Eagle Farm last week and has been installed a very short priced favourite for Saturday’s race.
And Group 1 winning stable mate Woorim was also confirmed a certain starter in the BTC Cup after pleasing Heathcote in a gallop with Buffering at Doomben yesterday morning.
“He needed to work to the line on the bit with the intent to hit the line,” he said.
“Melissa (Leitch) rode him and knows him better than anybody and the work gave me an affirmation that the horse is back and the desire is high to want to compete.”
“In saying that, we still have to be a little bit reserved because it’s only when they are under extreme pressure that these things rear their ugly head. I really need to see him savage the line on Saturday to press on to the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke.”
Woorim returned to Brisbane with a respiratory infection after finishing last of seventeen in the Group 1 $400,000 Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 7 and Heathcote will want to see him perform at his best to convince him that the six year old is completely recovered.