Trainer Donna Logan has confirmed that New Zealand Derby runner-up Rising Romance will contest the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
Rising Romance has been one of the star three-year-old performers in New Zealand this year and connections were considering setting the Ekraar filly for the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) after she flew home late to finish second behind Puccini in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 1.
Logan told Sky Racing HQ that she was not worried about taking on the leading staying colts in Australia with Rising Romance, but has elected to take the more traditional path and chase the $1 million prizemoney on offer in the Australian Oaks.
“We have to do that really,” Logan said.
“I am not scared of the boys; Puccini is the horse to beat and I would like to meet him a bit more on level terms without giving him such a big start.
“When you look at the form for the Oaks, we look very well placed there.
“I think when you look at the Lucia Valentina run the other day it was magnificent and I have sort of taken a guide through that from having competed against her here.”
The Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 and the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at the same venue on April 5 both loomed as potential lead-up starts for Rising Romance and Logan confirmed that the three-year-old would contest the fillies’ event.
“Realistically I think that we will head in that direction,” Logan said.
“We either went to the Rosehill Guineas, which is stacking up to be a form sort of race and it wouldn’t have been as soft an option as the Vinery for your lead-up race.”
Leading New Zealand jockey Michael Coleman has ridden Rising Romance in all but one of her race starts to date, but fellow Kiwi hoop James McDonald, who is now based in Sydney, has been booked to partner the filly throughout her Australian preparation.
McDonald has ridden plenty of winners for the Logan stable in New Zealand and Donna Logan, who trains in partnership with her husband Dean, said that a played key role in the decision to offer the rising jockey the plumb ride.
“James has ridden a lot of winners for the stable and the clients were more than happy with James,” Logan said.
“He has been connected to our stable since he started riding and he knows his way around Sydney.
“He knows the Kiwi horses and all the factors were taken into consideration for why we elected to go with James.”
Rising Romance ($4.20) is currently a clear favourite in 2014 Australian Oaks betting markets from Zanbagh ($6), Solicit ($6.50) and Guelph ($11).