Classy Kiwi mare Viadana has been included in the 2014 Let’s Elope Stakes field and will make her Melbourne racing debut in the Group 2 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Viadana has recorded three wins at Group 1 level in New Zealand and she showed she was capable of being competitive in at the highest level in Australia when she finished a close fifth behind Diamond Drille in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
Trainer Lance Noble told Racing Ahead this morning that Viadana will likely take a couple of runs before she is at her best, but he is confident that the daughter of Towkay will take plenty of benefit from her run in the Let’s Elope Stakes this weekend as she heads towards the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on November 1.
“It was a credible run in Sydney and it gave us a bit of confidence to target coming over now,” Noble said.
“She historically takes a little bit of time to come up, she retains her winter coat for a while and she had a run and a trial both on rain affected tracks, which hasn’t given me a great line on quiet where we are at.
“We are bringing her over and she will improve from the run on Saturday and we will get a good line on exactly where we are on a good track.
“If she progresses as we hope the ultimate will be the Myer, but she will have another run or two in between, but it really all depends on this weekend’s run.”
Viadana returned to the races in the Group 3 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on August 16, but she was never able to get into the ace and finished 11th behind I Do.
Noble admitted that he was disappointed with the performance of the seven-year-old, but he believes that she had a number of excuses for her lackluster effort in the Group 3 event.
“I probably was a little bit disappointed,” Noble said.
“She didn’t have a lot of galloping, we have had a lot of wet weather, she had a big slow afterwards and with the track bias that day you really needed to be up on the speed and in a certain part of the track.
“She got back and got wide, so really you can put a line through that run.”
Viadana will need to be at her very best to record a maiden win in Australia after a number of talented mares were included in the 2014 Let’s Elope Stakes field.
Commanding Jewel won the Let’s Elope Stakes in impressive fashion last year and she returned to the races with an outstanding effort in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m), while Gregers will be chasing her third straight victory after defeating Commanding Jewel at her last start.
The in-form Gig drops back in class after performing well at Group 1 level in the Memsie Stakes, while promising mare Solicit will be returning to the races for the first time since she failed to fire in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes.