El Roca filly Romancing The Moon hasn’t missed a beat in her lead-up to Saturday’s G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton.
The Westbury Stud graduate has pleased her trainer Mark Walker ahead of her sternest test on Saturday and the eye-catching progress she has made in her first preparation booked her trip south for the Classic.
Romancing The Moon placed in a tidy age group field when debuting at Taupo and then finished runner-up in the Listed O’Leary’s Fillies’ Stakes at Wanganui.
She was second again in a maiden contest at Matamata before blowing away her rivals on her home turf and then beat all but Guineas hot-pot Legarto in the G3 Soliloquy Stakes.
Walker said he has been really happy with Romancing The Moon, who impressed during an exhibition gallop between races on the opening day of the New Zealand Cup carnival.
The filly, who will be ridden by Josh Parr, is currently on the third line of betting at $6.50.
Matamata couple Karyn and Hamish McQuade bred Romancing The Moon and sold her through Westbury’s draft at Karaka to Te Akau boss David Ellis for $50,000.
Her dam Underthemoonlight was a multiple Group winner and also finished third in an edition of the G1 Tarzino Trophy.
The McQuades have enjoyed previous black type success with another daughter of El Roca in the Listed Ryder Stakes winner Ima Roca Bee, a genuine prospect at Saturday’s northern meeting in the G2 Tauranga Stakes.
The G3 New Zealand Cup contender Daytona Red is a member of Westbury’s class of 2015 at Karaka and a case can be made for the $75,000 graduate despite a horror gate.
The Nicholas Bishara-trained son of Sebring has proven depths of stamina as a Listed New Zealand St Leger winner and finished fifth in last year’s G1 Auckland Cup.
Redwood’s daughter Herself also drew attention to her Cup chances with a solid first day performance when fifth in the Listed Metropolitan Trophy for trainer Guy Lowry.
Meanwhile at Cranbourne, Ranting is a proven first-up performer and will resume for Leon and Troy Corstens from an inside gate in the Apache Cat Classic.
The G3 Blue Sapphire Stakes winner was bred here by Gerry Harvey and is a son of Zoustar and the late More Than Ready mare Vanilla Ice Cream.
She was a sister to the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Danelagh, dam of the champion Hong Kong performer and multiple top-flight winner Vengeance Of Rain.